MBB : TWICE IS NICE: SU completes 2nd straight unblemished nonconference slate with win over Drexel

first_img Comments Published on December 21, 2010 at 12:00 pm For Jim Boeheim, the difference in his basketball team from the start of this year to now has been offense. He said the defense started out the season well, but the offense played catch-up.But instead of criticism of the execution and critiques of the individual players, on Wednesday night the Syracuse head coach had nothing but praise for his squad on the offensive end of the floor.‘I don’t think we can play better offensively than that,’ Boeheim said.No. 5 SU (13-0) opened up the second half with a torrid 18-of-20 shooting stretch to pull away from Drexel (8-2) for a 93-65 victory in front of 17,856 people in the Carrier Dome. Junior Kris Joseph led the Orange with a career-high 25 points — 21 of them after the break — as Syracuse took control of the contest after struggling in the opening minutes.The win means that Syracuse is undefeated entering Big East play for the second consecutive year.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘Earlier in the year, this would’ve been a very different game,’ Boeheim said. ‘But we’re playing much better offensively, much more confidence. Everybody was good tonight. … That’s as well as we can play.’Syracuse wasn’t playing its best early on, though, and it seemed like Drexel would give SU some trouble. The Orange didn’t make its first field goal until nearly six minutes into the game when sophomore Brandon Triche knocked down a spinning jumper with the shot clock winding down.The Orange eventually took a 16-12 lead, and the offense began to click. Senior Rick Jackson took over like he has in so many games this season. After the Dragons poked a rebound away from Jackson underneath the basket, the forward blocked two shots in a row by Drexel’s Samme Givens, the second one off Givens out of bounds.The rejections ignited Jackson. On the ensuing possession, he powered his way through Dragons forward Daryl McCoy for an easy layup. He converted a three-point play on a pick-and-roll with Triche two possessions later.Jackson finished with 15 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks.‘The pick-and-roll, they weren’t really guarding it well,’ Triche said.The and-one play put SU up 11, and the Orange took a 35-22 lead into the break five minutes later.Then came SU’s white-hot streak to open the second half. This time, it was Joseph’s turn to lead the Syracuse offense.The 6-foot-7 forward posted up 6-foot-4 Drexel guard Derrick Thomas and overpowered him for an easy layup. He then rejected a Dragon shot off the glass, sparking a fast break bucket for Scoop Jardine. The junior then pulled down a rebound after a missed three and led a fast break ending with a Jackson dunk.Drexel called a timeout after that series of plays but still couldn’t stop the bleeding. After starting the game shooting 1-for-6 from the field, the Orange shot 34-of-49 the rest of the way, including that 18-of-20 stretch to open the second half.‘Good offense, making shots, being patient, setting up shots for other guys and looking for other guys,’ Jardine said of the reasons behind the offensive onslaught. ‘We were unselfish tonight, and we’ve been playing like that the last three or four games.‘I think it’s finally clicking.’For the Orange, that shooting percentage was helped by most of its shots coming from close range as the Dragons were unable to stop the Syracuse penetration. And for the second game in a row, SU’s entire active roster got some playing time.Jackson, Jardine, Joseph and Triche all feel the Orange is ready for Big East play, which starts Tuesday when Providence visits the Carrier Dome. They all said things are just coming together for the team as a whole.And with the shooting stretch SU had Wednesday, even Boeheim — who has been as critical of his team as anyone — admitted that the offense is finally starting to click.‘We’re playing better offensively,’ he said. ‘I think it takes awhile for offense. … Now, I think we’re getting to where everybody’s figured out what they can do.’zjbrown@syr.educenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more