Freshly Squeezed (12/10)

Syracuse on a Five Game Win Streak

e&o
The Daily Orange

Syracuse is back in the Top 25 for the first time since the week of November 12 after defeating Northeastern and Georgetown in the Carrier Dome last week.

The Orange faced Colonial Athletic Association favorite, Northeastern, Tuesday night. Syracuse jumped out to an early 10-2 lead, but the Huskies scored 10 unanswered points to take a 12-10 lead. This was the only lead Northeastern held over the Orange all night. Syracuse closed the half on a 9-0 run with baskets by freshman guards Jalen Carey and Buddy Boeheim to take a 30-23 advantage into intermission.

The Orange’s patented 2-3 zone stymied the Huskies in the second half. Northeastern shot 32.1-percent from the floor in the closing stanza, including 2-of-16 from beyond the arc, which allowed Syracuse to roll to a 72-47 win.

The Orange outrebounded the Huskies 43-29 and held a 19-8 edge in second chance points.

Tomas Murphy led Northeastern with 17 points, on 7-of-10 shooting, and eight rebounds.

osbneu
Times Union

Oshae Brissett posted a double-double with 21 points and 14 boards. Elijah Hughes scored 17 points, on 6-of-11 from the field and 3-of-8 from three. Boeheim chipped in with 11 points on 4-of-10 from the floor, including 3-of-7 from deep off the bench.

bbneu

Frank Howard and Tyus Battle scored two points apiece on a combined 2-of-12 from the field and Syracuse still earned the win—a result that would have been unheard of last season.

The Orange hosted the Georgetown Hoyas in a matchup of old Big East rivals on Saturday afternoon in front of a raucous crowd of 24,082—the largest attendance in college basketball yet this season.

Patrick Ewing’s Hoyas jumped out to an early lead thanks to their impenetrable defense that forced Syracuse to miss 12 of their first 13 shots. Georgetown took a 35-22 lead into the break and held the Orange to 25-percent from the floor, including 1-of-14 from distance.

Syracuse came out of the locker room in the second half and played their best twenty minutes of basketball thus far in the 2018-19 campaign. The Orange went on a 14-4 run to pull within 39-36 on a layup by Battle with 16:05 left. The Hoyas responded with a 7-2 spurt to keep Syracuse’s comeback at bay for the time being. The Orange had an answer and took a 54-48 lead on a layup by Brissett with 9:52 remaining. Georgetown came back and tied the game at 60 on a free throw by Josh LeBlanc with 5:51 to go.

The teams traded baskets and Jessie Govan connected on a triple to give the Hoyas a 71-70 lead with 1:08 to play. Battle missed a jumper with 40 ticks on the clock and Jagan Mosely controlled the defensive board for the Hoyas. Syracuse coach, Jim Boeheim, made the gutsy decision not to foul and Marek Dolezaj drew a charge with 10.6 seconds left to give the Orange one last chance to beat Georgetown.

Enter Tyus Battle. As he has done so many times in his Syracuse career, the junior guard brought the ball up the court and put a dagger into the hearts of the Hoya faithful as he nailed a jumper with 2.5 seconds remaining on the clock, sending the Carrier Dome crowd into a frenzy. Jahvon Blair’s half-court heave clanged off the back iron and the Orange prevailed 72-71 in the latest installment of the storied rivalry.

game winner
syracuse.com

Syracuse holds a 51-43 lead over Georgetown in the series. With the ACC schedule expanding to 20 games next season, it is uncertain as to whether or not the two schools will renew the rivalry in 2019-20, but both Boeheim and Ewing expressed their interest in continuing the rivalry moving forward.

The Orange’s comeback was fueled by an efficient offensive attack as Syracuse shot 60-percent from the field in the final 20 minutes and held the Hoyas to a 41.4-percent clip in the period. Georgetown outrebounded the Orange 45-34, but Syracuse forced the Hoyas into 15 turnovers.

Govan posted a double-double with 22 points, on 9-of-18 shooting and 2-of-3 from three point land, and 12 rebounds. He also dished out four assists.

Battle led the Orange with 26 points, on 8-of-18 from the floor, and five rebounds. Hughes added 15 points and six boards, while Brissett finished with 12 points and nine rebounds.

tbgtown
Troy Nunes is An Absolute Magician

Player of the Week: Elijah Hughes

ehneu
Inside the Loud House

Despite Battle’s game-winner against Georgetown and Brissett’s double-double in the victory over Northeastern, this week’s player of the week for Syracuse was Elijah Hughes. The East Carolina transfer played a key role in both wins this week for the Orange and has been a consistent scorer in addition to the trio of Howard, Battle, and Brissett. His presence was clearly missed when he sat out his red-shirt season a year ago. This week, Hughes averaged 16 points and shot 11-of-24 from the field, including 7-of-18 from three point range and was the second leading scorer in support of Brissett and Battle in both triumphs last week. Hughes has looked more comfortable in the back of the zone as the season has evolved and recoded a steal and a block against the Huskies and the Hoyas. With Hughes as a key contributor on both ends of the floor, Syracuse should remain in the Top 25 over the course of the coming weeks.

Up Next: Old Dominion

The Orange will have a week to decompress from the hysteria of the huge win over Georgetown to take their finals and prepare for their next opponent, the Old Dominion Monarchs. Tip-off is set for noon on Saturday. Old Dominion enters the contest with a record of 7-3 and are coming off a 79-69 victory over Fairfield on Sunday. The Monarchs are led by Ahmad Caver who is averaging 18.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game.

The Sunday Saint (12/9)

Saint Split a Pair on the Road

kdrmu
sienasaints.com

Siena went to 4-6 this season after splitting a pair of contests on the road against St. Bonaventure and Robert Morris.

The Saints were clobbered by the Bonnies in the 2018 edition of the Franciscan Cup on Wednesday night. St. Bonaventure took control of the game with a 22-3 run to end the opening stanza to take a 42-16 lead into the break. Although Siena trimmed the Bonnies lead to 22 (55-33) on a three-pointer by Jimmy Ratliff with 11:59 remaining, St. Bonaventure never relinquished the lead they built in the first half. The Bonnies ended the game on a 26-7 spurt to secure the Franciscan Cup for the third time in as many years.

St. Bonaventure put on a clinic on both ends of the court. The Bonnies shot 55.9-percent from the field and held the Saints to 32.6-percent shooting and forced Siena into 15 turnovers.

St. Bonaventure was led by Nelson Kaputo who poured in 21 points off the bench.

Ratliff was the lone Saint in double figures. The North Alabama-transfer tallied 16 points off the bench and grabbed five rebounds.

The Saints played without senior forward Evan Fisher who left last Saturday’s game against Harvard with a lower body injury.

Siena looked to get back on the right track when they traveled to take on Robert Morris on Saturday.

The Saints took a 38-32 lead into halftime and built an 18 point advantage on a three-pointer by Sloan Seymour with 16:25 left. The Colonials were not done yet. Robert Morris used a 22-4 run to take a 67-65 lead with 4:26 to go. Jalen Pickett backed down his defender to tie the score at 71 with 41.7 ticks on the clock. Pickett missed the free throw that could have given Siena the lead. The Colonials’ Josh Williams missed a layup with 18 seconds remaining, giving the Saints the opportunity to win the contest on their final possession. The Saints did just that. Kevin Degnan nailed a triple with two seconds left to send Siena home with a 74-71 victory.

The Saints shot 50.9-percent from the floor and connected on 11-of-25 (44-percent) of their attempts from beyond the arc. Robert Morris shot 56.3-percent from the field, but only made six threes.

The Colonials were led by Williams who scored 19 points.

Siena was led by Pickett who netted 20 points, corralled seven boards, and dished out seven assists. Degnan, who hit the game-winning trey, added a career-high 19 points, on 7-of-13 shooting, including 5-of-8 from deep, and seven rebounds. Manny Camper shot a perfect 6-of-6 from the field and finished with 14 points and four boards. Ratliff earned his first start of the season and recorded a solid performance with 10 points and four rebounds.

Fisher was out for the second consecutive game nursing a lower leg injury, while Sammy Friday IV also sat out against Robert Morris with a lower body injury. Ratliff and Degnan both stepped up in their absences.

Player of the Week: Jimmy Ratliff

jrrmu

Although Degnan hit the game-winner and Pickett led the Saints in scoring, the unsung hero of the week for Siena was Jimmy Ratliff. The red-shirt freshman walk-on had his two best games of the season thus far against St. Bonaventure and Robert Morris. Ratliff averaged 13 points on 9-of-15 shooting, including 6-of-11 from distance, and 4.5 rebounds. Ratliff will need to continue to step up if Fisher and Friday IV are out for an extended period of time.

Up Next: College of Charleston and Holy Cross

The Saints have a long layoff before there next game. Siena will return to action next Tuesday, December 18 when they host the College of Charleston at the Times Union Center. Tip-off is set for 7pm. The Cougars are 7-2 and are coming off a 72-64 win over Charlotte. College of Charleston is led by Grant Riller who is averaging 21.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game. Last year, the Cougars defeated the Saints 68-60 in overtime in Charleston.

Siena will have an opportunity to avenge their earlier loss to Holy Cross when they travel to Worcester, Massachusetts to battle with the Crusaders on Saturday, December 22 at noon. It is very unusual to play a non-conference opponent twice in a season, but this game was scheduled not knowing that the two teams were going to play each other in the championship game of the Hall of Fame Classic in November. Holy Cross is 6-4 and are coming off a 79-63 loss to Rhode Island. The Crusaders won the first meeting over the Saints 57-45. Jacob Grandison led Holy Cross to the win with 24 points and four assists, while Fisher led Siena with 14 points, seven rebounds, and three assists in the loss.

Freshly Squeezed (12/3)

Syracuse Riding a Three-Game Win Streak

ehosu
The Edwardsville Intelligencer

Syracuse entered last Wednesday’s tilt with Ohio State in desperate need of a nonconference win over a ranked team on the road. The Orange got exactly what the doctor ordered and pulled off a 72-62 victory over the 16th-ranked Buckeyes in Columbus in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Syracuse followed that performance up with a 63-55 win over Cornell in a hotly contested “Battle of the Boeheim’s.”

Ohio State jumped out to an early 9-2 lead by connecting on their first four shot attempts. The Buckeyes cooled off and the Orange tied the game at 17 on a three-pointer by Marek Dolezaj. The teams traded baskets to close the half and Tyus Battle gave Syracuse momentum heading into the break with a spinning layup to pull the Orange to within two points (31-29) at halftime.

Syracuse wasted no time in the second stanza as Oshae Brissett made a layup of the first possession to ignite a 10-2 run to give the Orange a 39-33 lead. Ohio State used a 10-2 run of their own to take a 43-41 lead. Syracuse ripped off an 11-0 run to take a 55-45 lead that they would not relinquish the rest of the way and came away with a much needed 72-62 victory.

The Orange had their best shooting night of the season as they shot 48.9-percent from the field and 45.8-percent from beyond the arc to earn the win. Syracuse’s vaunted 2-3 zone noticeably bothered the Buckeyes throughout the night as Ohio State was held to just 32.6-percent from the field and 27.3-percent from three point land.

Despite battling foul trouble throughout the evening, the Orange were victorious. Syracuse committed 29 fouls in the tightly-called affair and lost three players, Bourama Sidibe, Frank Howard, and Dolezaj, to disqualification. Ohio State finished 26-for-35 from the charity stripe.

The Buckeyes were led by CJ Jackson, who tallied 19 points, on 4-of-14 from the floor, and four rebounds.

Battle paced the Orange attack with 20 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Elijah Hughes poured in 18 points on 6-of-14 from the floor and 4-of-9 from deep. Brissett added 14 points and four rebounds.

obosu
Syracuse University

Coach Boeheim commented on his team’s performance postgame. “Our overall defense was good,” Boeheim said. “We guarded the three-point line better than we have all year. We did a good job inside, but it was Tyus and really Oshae, and Elijah in the second half that made some big plays.”

The ACC/Big Ten Challenge ended in a 7-7 tie.

After their impressive road win over the Buckeyes, Syracuse returned to the Carrier Dome to face the Cornell Big Red in the “Battle of the Boeheim’s” Saturday night. Coach Boeheim, Buddy, and the Orange squared off against Jimmy, the eldest of the Boeheim brothers, and the Big Red.

Syracuse vs. Cornell
Syracuse.com

Syracuse looked to lack the intensity they played with against Ohio State. The Orange took a 33-24 lead into the break and built a 15 point lead (39-24) early in the second half, but Cornell refused to go away. The Big Red went on a 21-8 run to take a 48-47 lead with 7:53 remaining. Battle put the Orange ahead for good with a three-pointer that gave Syracuse a 52-50 lead with 5:51 to go. The Orange escaped the “Battle of the Boeheim’s” with a 63-55 win.

Cornell shot 46.5-percent from the field and drained 9-of-24 of their attempts from downtown to give Syracuse a run for their money. The Orange shot 50-percent from the floor and 8-of-21 from distance.

Defensively, Syracuse forced the Big Red into 14 turnovers.

Matt Morgan, one of the best players in mid-major college basketball, led the way for Cornell. Morgan scored 26 points on 9-of-14 shooting, including 6-of-10 from three-point range. Morgan has now scored in double figures in 59 consecutive contests. Jimmy Boeheim stuffed the stat sheet with nine points, six rebounds, four assists, and a block.

Battle led the way for the Orange as he scored a season-high 26 points on 10-of-17 from the floor, including 4-of-6 from three, and five rebounds. Brissett finished with 19 points and eight boards. Buddy Boeheim joined his older brother on the court and knocked down a three in five minutes off the bench.

boeheim brothers
Democrat and Chronicle

Coach Boeheim was not happy with his team’s effort against the Big Red. “There’s a lot of things we’re not doing well,” Boeheim said. “Tyus and Oshae played well enough for us to win. Otherwise there wasn’t a lot of good things. I can’t tell you how disappointing it is. Really bad.”

Syracuse will need to play better on Tuesday when they take on CAA favorite Northeastern.

Player of the Week: Tyus Battle

tbc
The Daily Orange

This week’s player of the week is Tyus Battle. After playing out of position in the first four games while Frank Howard was out due to injury, Battle struggled to play up to his potential. Since Howard returned to the lineup against Colgate last Wednesday, Battle is averaging 23.3 points per game, shooting 64.9-percent from the field and 72.7-percent from three. If Battle continues playing like he has over the last week and a half, he will have a chance to live up to the All-American hype he generated in the preseason. This week, he was honored as the ACC Player of the Week.

Up Next: Northeastern and Georgetown

The Orange are set to enter a stretch in their schedule where they will not play a game away from the Carrier Dome until they travel to face Notre Dame on January 5. Syracuse will return to action on Tuesday when they take on Northeastern at 7pm. The Huskies are 4-4 and are coming off an 81-67 victory over former Syracuse assistant, Rob Murphy, and Eastern Michigan. Northeastern will be very familiar playing against zone. The Huskies are led by Jordan Roland who is averaging 15.9 points per game.

The Orange will host former Big East arch rival Georgetown on Saturday. Tip-off is set for 3:30pm. Second year head coach Patrick Ewing and his Hoyas are 7-1 and are coming off an 88-87 win over Liberty Monday night. Big man Jessie Govan leads the way for Georgetown as he is averaging 19.9 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. The Hoyas have an electric backcourt consisting of freshman guard James Akinjo and Mac McClung. The duo is averaging 21.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 6.9 assists per contest. Last year, Syracuse traveled to the nation’s capital and emerged with an 86-79 0vertime victory over their long-time arch rivals. Syracuse and Georgetown in the Dome will certainly not disappoint.

The Sunday Saint (12/2)

Saints Split a pair to Improve to 3-5

jph
sienasaints.com

Siena improved to 3-5 on the season this week after splitting a pair of contests against Hofstra and Harvard.

The Saints comeback fell just short on Long Island as they fell 94-86 to the Hofstra Pride Wednesday night. Hofstra sunk their first six attempts from beyond the arc and built a 45-37 lead at the break. The Pride jumped out to a 77-57 lead with 8:10 left in the game, but Siena would not go away easily. The Saints rattled off an 18-4 run that culminated with a three pointer by Sloan Seymour to pull with six (81-75) of Hofstra with 3:11 left. Siena was unable to get over the hump and the Pride escaped with the victory.

Hofstra, who shot 54.4-percent from the field and 46.7-percent from three, was led by one of the best players in mid-major college basketball, Justin Wright-Foreman. Wright-Foreman paced the Pride with 28 points.

The Saints shot 54.2-percent from the field, but connected on only 34.6-percent of their attempts from three point land. Reigning MAAC Rookie of the Week, Jalen Pickett, posted a double-double with 27 points, on 9-of-12 from the floor and 2-of-3 from deep, and 13 assists. The freshman point guard only turned the ball over once in the losing effort. He also grabbed five rebounds. Evan Fisher poured in a career-high 25 points, on 12-of-17 shooting, and pulled down seven boards. Seymour added 13 points, while Kevin Degnan finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.

evh

Siena looked to end their four game losing streak against the Harvard Crimson in a Saturday matinee at the Times Union Center. The Saints used a 10-3 to take a 27-22 lead into the locker room at halftime. The 22 points Siena held Harvard to in the first 20 minutes were the fewest points the Saints have allowed in a half all season. Siena used a 9-4 run to take their largest lead of the game, 52-39, with 9:12 to go. The Crimson ended the game with a 12-5 spurt, but Justin Bassey missed a potential game tying three at the buzzer. The Saints emerged with a 67-64 victory, the first home win under first year head coach Jamion Christian.

Harvard shot 50-percent from the field, but the Crimson were clearly bothered by Siena’s defensive pressure. The Saints forced the Crimson into 15 turnovers. Bassey led the Harvard with 15 points, seven rebounds, and three assists.

Siena shot 44.6-percent from the field and 34.8-percent from distance in the win. The Saints were led by Degnan, who tallied career-highs with 16 points and three blocks. He also corralled four rebounds. Pickett chipped in with 14 points, four rebounds, and eight assists. Sammy Friday IV provided a spark off the bench with 10 points and three boards.

Evan Fisher left the game in the second half with what appeared to be an ankle injury and did not return. His status moving forward is yet to be determined.

Player of the Week: Kevin Degnan

kdh
Times Union

To keep things interesting and to not give the player of the week to Jalen Pickett for the third time in four weeks, this week’s player of the week for Siena is Kevin Degnan. Degnan averaged 13 points and six rebounds and was a key reason as to why the Saints pulled of the win over Harvard. If Degnan can provide a third option to Pickett and Fisher, Siena could really benefit, especially if Fisher’s injury is serious.

Up Next: St. Bonaventure and Robert Morris

The Saints begin a two game road trip when they look to win back the Franciscan Cup against St. Bonaventure on Wednesday at 7pm. The Bonnies are 3-5 and are coming off a 90-61 win over Delaware State on Saturday. St. Bonaventure is led by Jalen Poyser, who is averaging 16.5 points per game. Last year, the Bonnies defeated Siena 75-55 in Albany.

The second game of the road trip will be at Robert Morris on Saturday at 4pm. The Colonials are 4-4 on the season and are coming off an 82-69 loss at Drexel on Saturday. Robert Morris is led by Josh Williams who is averaging 12.3 points per game. Last season, the Saints defeated the Colonials 76-74 at the Times Union Center.

A November to Remember

The college basketball season is off and running. What have we learned so far?

rui
Moscow-Pullman Daily News

As the calendar turns to December, teams are entering the second month of their seasons looking to take advantage of their last few opportunities to grab wins in the nonconference portion of the schedule before 2019 and conference play commences.

The month of November was a wild one from the tip. From Duke blowing out Kentucky on opening night through Feast Week, we’ve seen some marquee matchups, upsets, surprises, and teams that look like they have a legitimate chance of cutting down the nets in Minneapolis in early April.

The four most impressive teams thus far are Gonzaga, Kansas, Virginia, and Michigan.

Gonzaga Bulldogs

Although Duke came roaring out of the gate, the young Blue Devils got punched in the mouth in the championship game of the Maui Invitational by the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Gonzaga held on to beat Duke 89-87 in college basketball’s most intriguing matchup thus far this season. The Bulldogs ran through the Maui Invitational without forward Killian Tillie, who is out for the foreseeable future with an ankle injury. Mark Few’s team is deep and talented—led by junior Rui Hachimura, who has been a beast. The Japan native has NBA scouts drooling and is averaging 21.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Even without Tillie, Gonzaga is still incredibly deep and talented. Zach Norvell Jr., Brandon Clarke, and Josh Perkins are all averaging double figures. The top ranked Zags still have nonconference games against Creighton, Washington, Tennessee, and North Carolina, but if they can make it through those contests unscathed, they may just be dancing with an unblemished mark in March.

Kansas Jayhawks

lgv
The Edwardsville Intelligencer

The Kansas Jayhawks entered most preseason polls as the number team in the country, but for some reason are now ranked second even though they have yet to lose a game. Duke leapfrogged Kansas after their throttling of Kentucky on opening night in Indianapolis and Gonzaga did the same after beating Duke in Maui. Kansas looks every bit as good as they were expected to be in the preseason. The Jayhawks defeated fifth ranked Tennessee in the NIT Season Tip-Off Tournament championship game in Brooklyn, 87-81 in overtime. After almost not being welcomed back to the roster by Bill Self, Lagerald Vick has played with a chip on his shoulder to begin the season. The senior guard is leading the team in scoring with 19.6 points per game behind 58.3-percent shooting from three point land. Memphis-transfer Dedric Lawson is averaging a double-double, while Udoka Azubuike and Devon Dotson are also averaging double figures in scoring. Prior to entering Big Twelve play in search of their fifteenth consecutive regular season conference title, Kansas has matchups with Stanford, Villanova, and Arizona State. At this rate, it would be pretty shocking if anyone were to derail the Jayhawks hopes of another league title.

Virginia Cavaliers

dah
SB Nation

After being the first one seed to lose to a sixteen seed in the NCAA Tournament, the Virginia Cavaliers have bounced back with a vengeance to start their 2018-19 campaign. Just as it has been over the course of Tony Bennett’s tenure in Charlottesville, defense has been the key to Virginia’s early success. The fourth ranked Cavaliers are second in defensive efficiency and have held opponents to a mere 52.4 points per game. The main reason why the Hoos were bounced by UMBC in the first round of the “Big Dance” a year ago was that they were without their best player De’Andre Hunter in that game. Hunter is back and is leading the team in points (16.6) and rebounds (6.1) per game. Freshman point guard Kehei Clark has nearly a 3:1 assist to turnover ratio, which has allowed sharp shooters, Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy, to get open looks off the ball. The Cavaliers defeated Wisconsin 53-46 in the championship game of the Battle 4 Atlantis and traveled to College Park to defeat Maryland 76-71 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Virginia has a date at South Carolina on December 19, and it is very likely that they will enter ACC play undefeated. With Hunter being more of a focal point on this year’s team, this may be the year that Bennett finally makes it to the Final Four.

Michigan Wolverines

iggy
Deadspin

The reigning National Runners-Up from Michigan are back and look like one of the most impressive teams in the country. John Beilein’s team has climbed to number seven in the polls behind a tremendous defensive effort. The Wolverines are the top team in defensive efficiency and are hold opponents to just 51 points per contest. Michigan is led by freshman forward Iggy Brazdeikis who is averaging 16.9 points, on 54.9-percent shooting and 38.9-percent from three, and 5.7 rebounds per game. Charles Matthews and Jordan “Swaggy” Poole have chipped in and are averaging 15.4 and 10.1 points per game, respectively. The Wolverines have absolutely dominated their competition, winning by an average margin of 21.7 points on their way to a 7-0 start. Michigan avenged their loss in last year’s National Championship game with a 73-46 whooping of defending National Champion and then number eight Villanova. The Wolverines knocked off Providence, 66-47, in the championship game of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament. Most recently, Michigan pummeled number eleven North Carolina, 84-67, in front of a raucous home crowd in Ann Arbor in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Wolverines begin Big Ten play this weekend when they battle with number 19 Purdue on Saturday. As it looks right now, Michigan is good enough to be right back where they were last March, with hopes of getting one more win in 2019.

Bracket Busters: Buffalo and Furman

It’s never too early to pay attention to the teams from the one-bid leagues that are making noise in the nonconference portion of the schedule because that could be the difference between winning and losing your office March Madness pool. Two teams to keep an eye on this year are Buffalo and Furman.

Buffalo Bulls

cj
The Buffalo News

The Buffalo Bulls are no stranger to being “Bracket Busters,” as last year they eliminated number overall pick Deandre Ayton and the Arizona Wildcats in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Buffalo is off to a 6-0 start this season and have climbed to number 21 in the polls, largely in part to their 99-94 overtime win over then number thirteen West Virginia in Morgantown. Senior guard CJ Massinburg is averaging 20.5 points per game, on 51.9-percent from the field and 51.5-percent from deep, and 7.8 rebounds per game. Massinburg, along with Jayvon Graves, Nick Perkins, and Jeremy Harris, will look to have the Bulls dancing into the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament this year.

Furman Paladins

jl
Zagsblog

Can you name a school that has beaten half of last year’s Final Four on the road this season? Probably not. The correct answer to that question would be the Furman Paladins. Furman blessed the “Fighting Sister Jeans” with a 60-58 win in Chicago and followed that up with a 76-68 upset of then number eight Villanova. The Paladins of the SoCon are 7-0 and will look to pull off another upset on the road when they take on LSU in Baton Rouge on December 21. Jordan Lyons, Matt Rafferty, and Clay Mounce hope to lead Furman to the “Big Dance” for the first time since 1980.

Keep your eyes glued to the tube as we propel our way through the remainder of the nonconference slate and into conference play in December.

Freshly Squeezed (11/26)

Syracuse Bounces Back with Win over Colgate

elijah
Syracuse University

After falling to UConn and Oregon, Syracuse bounced back to pick up their third win of the season with a 77-56 victory over longtime instate rival Colgate on Thanksgiving Eve at the Carrier Dome. It was the Orange’s 53rd consecutive win over the Raiders—the longest winning streak against an opponent in Division I.

Colgate had Syracuse on their heels early, as the Raiders connected on eight three pointers in the first 20 minutes and trailed the Orange just 35-32 at the break. Colgate continued their hot streak from deep as they sunk three of their first four attempts from distance in the second stanza. With the game tied at 42, Elijah Hughes hit a three to spark a 22-3 run that put Syracuse up for good. Tyus Battle took the game over and scored 10 points over that stretch.

The Orange shot 43.3-percent from the field and 35-percent from three and held the Raiders to 35.3-percent from the floor and 30-percent from beyond the arc. Syracuse also forced Colgate into 16 turnovers.

Will Rayman and Jordan Burns tallied 13 points apiece to lead the Raiders in the losing effort. Rayman grabbed eight rebounds, while Burns dished out five assists.

Battle paced the Orange with 24 points on an efficient 8-of-10 shooting. Hughes and his frontcourt-mate Oshae Brissett poured in 17 points apiece and pulled down six and nine rebounds, respectively. Sophomore center Bourama Sidibe recorded his second career double-double as he finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds. The big man also came away with three steals. Sidibe saw an uptick in his minutes as starting center Paschal Chukwu left the game with a groin strain after playing only four minutes. His status for Wednesday’s game against Ohio State remains uncertain.

The most important takeaway from last Wednesday’s tilt with Colgate was that it was Frank Howard’s first appearance of the season. The senior point guard nailed a trey on his first shot attempt, dished out five assists, and came away with three steals in 19 minutes of action.

frank
Syracuse.com

Coach Boeheim commented on Howard’s impact in his postgame press conference. “It was good to have Frank (Howard) back,” Boeheim said. “He made a couple really smart plays to start the second half. He got the ball back to Elijah and gave it to Tyus, and we got a couple of threes because of it.”

Hopefully, a week of practice will have Howard fully back in the swing of things when Syracuse travels to Columbus to take on Ohio State on Wednesday.

Player of the Week: Tyus Battle

tyus_c
Syracuse.com

In a week where the Orange only played one game, Tyus Battle proved to be Syracuse’s player of the week. The junior guard looked much more comfortable with his running mate Frank Howard back in the lineup. Battle was able to play off the ball and act as more of a scorer as opposed to having to run the offense and get others involved as he had in the first four games of the season. He also started to heat up from three against Colgate. Battle connected on all three of his attempts from three point land against the Raiders. He will need to play even better if Syracuse wants to take down the Buckeyes in this week’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Up Next: Ohio State and Cornell

The Orange travel to Columbus to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Wednesday night. Tip-off is set for 7:15pm. Ohio State enters the contest undefeated and ranked 16th in the country. The Buckeyes are coming off an 89-62 win over Cleveland State and have also won at Cincinnati and at Creighton. Once again, Chris Holtmann’s team is taking the college basketball world by surprise. Ohio State is led by Kaleb Wesson who is averaging 14.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.

After squaring off with the Buckeyes, Syracuse will return to the Carrier Dome to host Cornell. The game will feature Coach Boeheim, his son Buddy, and the Orange against his oldest son Jimmy and the Big Red. Cornell is 3-3 and are coming off a 91-74 loss to UConn. The Big Red are led by one of the best players in mid-major college basketball, Matt Morgan, who is averaging 26.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Jimmy Boeheim is averaging 13.8 points and 4.6 rebounds so far in his sophomore season. Last year, Coach Boeheim and Syracuse defeated Cornell 77-45, but not before Jimmy drained his first career three right in front of his dad’s bench. Buddy will make his debut in the family rivalry Saturday night. Tip-off is set for 8pm.

The Sunday Saint (11/25)

Saints Struggle at Home

After starting off the season 2-2, the Saints dropped a pair of games to Patriot League opponents this week and are in the midst of a three game skid heading into the final week of November. Siena lost 80-69 in their home opener Wednesday night and suffered an 84-79 defeat at the hands of Colgate at the Times Union Center on Saturday afternoon.

The Saints found themselves trailing Patriot League favorite, Lehigh, 42-37 at halftime after a back-and-forth opening stanza. The Mountain Hawks kept Siena at an arm’s length throughout the second half, but the Saints did manage to cut the lead to three (64-61) with 6:39 remaining. Lehigh used a 10-0 run to pull away and win 80-69. The Mountain Hawks shot 58-percent from the floor, including a blistering 63.2-percent from beyond the arc. Siena shot just 40.6-percent from the field and connected on just 8-of-30 (26.7-percent) three point attempts. The Saints failed to make 10 or more three pointers for the second consecutive game after doing so in their first three contests. Kyle Leufroy led Lehigh with 25 points, on 8-of-11 shooting and 4-of-5 from distance, five rebounds, and three assists. Freshman point guard Jalen Pickett paced Siena with 25 points, on 10-of-19 from the field and 4-of-8 from deep, six boards, seven assists, and three steals. Senior forward Evan Fisher contributed with 13 points, on 5-of-13 attempts from the floor, and seven rebounds in the losing effort.

evan_l
The Daily Gazette

The Saints hosted the Colgate Raiders in a Saturday afternoon matinee and fell 84-79 in an up tempo affair. Colgate led for 14 of the first 20 minutes and took a six point lead (43-37) into the break. Siena rallied to take a 69-65 lead after a three point play by Fisher with 5:13 left in the game, but the Raiders used a 10-2 run to take a four point lead (75-71) that they would not relinquish. Sophomore guard Manny Camper missed three free throws in the final minute and Colgate escaped the Times Union Center with a victory. The Raiders shot 54.7-percent from the floor and 47.8-percent from three, while the Saints shot 53.3-percent from the field, but just 21.7-percent (5-of-23) from three point land. Siena failed to connect on 10 or more three point field goals for the third straight game—a trend that will need to be reversed if the Saints want to get back into the win column. Jordan Burns poured in 25 points, on 9-of-14 shooting and 5-of-9 from three, to lead Colgate. He also dished out four assists. Siena was led by Fisher who netted a career-high 22 points, on 9-of-12 shooting, and six rebounds. Pickett stuffed the stat sheet with 21 points, on 9-of-16 from the floor, five boards, nine assists, seven steals, and two blocks. Camper added 10 points, on 4-of-9 from the field, and seven rebounds. Junior forward Sammy Friday IV finished with 10 points, on 4-of-6 shooting in the loss.

Player of the Week: Jalen Pickett

jalen_c
Times Union

For the second time in the season’s first three weeks, Siena’s player of the week is Jalen Pickett. The freshman point guard was impressive in his first two starts at home. Pickett averaged 23 points and shot 54.3-percent from the floor in two games. He quarterbacked the offensive attack well, posting a 4:1 assist to turnover ratio against Lehigh and Colgate. Defensively, Pickett has proven that he is a tremendous two way player as he recorded totals of 10 steals and three blocks this past week. Jamion Christian’s first recruit to Siena has done everything asked of him over the early portion of the Saints’ schedule and will look to be one of the best freshman in the MAAC moving forward.

Up Next: Hofstra Pride and Harvard Crimson

After their two game home stand, Siena will travel to Long Island to take on Hofstra on Wednesday at 7pm. The Pride are 3-3 and are coming off a 69-67 overtime loss to VCU on the road. Hofstra is led by one of the best players in mid-major college basketball, Justin Wright-Foreman, who is averaging 28 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game. Last year, the Saints beat the Pride 85-76 at the Times Union Center.

Siena will return home on Saturday, December 1 to play Harvard. Tip-off is set for 3pm. The game is part of a doubleheader with the Siena women who will tip off against Florida Atlantic at 1pm. This game was added to the schedule to replace the Albany Cup that was suspended this year as Siena and UAlbany could not come to an agreement as to where the game should be played. The Crimson are 3-3, coming off a 74-68 win over St. Mary’s on the road. Harvard will play Holy Cross before heading to Albany to battle with the Saints. The Crimson are led by Chris Lewis who is averaging 15.8 points per contest.