THE BETTER HALF: Syracuse scores 50 points in second half to overcome early struggles in 85-61 win over Canisius

first_img Published on December 15, 2012 at 9:11 pm Contact Jacob: [email protected] | @Jacob_Klinger_ Facebook Twitter Google+ Syracuse’s win was a tale of two halves. After going a week without playing any games, the Orange started slowly and gave Canisius hope.“We were fortunate and our defense was good enough that we weren’t behind,” head coach Jim Boeheim said.The first half ended as sloppily as it was. Brandon Triche’s last-second layup, which came after a broken play, rolled into the hoop to close out an ugly first half to the roar of the the 18,120 fans inside the Carrier Dome. It put Syracuse (9-0) up by three points and the Golden Griffins (6-2) were in striking distance. That all changed in the second half when the Orange found its rhythm and cruised to an 85-61 win over Canisius.Triche’s layup at the buzzer came when Michael Carter-Williams took the ball up 1-on-1 against Canisius’s Reggie Groves and lost the ball twice, only for Triche to gain possession and make the bucket.The play typified an equally scattered first half for the Orange, one that ended with Syracuse up 35-32. The Golden Griffins outworked SU on the perimeter as well as on the boards, outrebounding SU 21-17 in the first half.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut the Orange would distance itself in the second half as shots began to fall and rebounds bounced more favorably. Ultimately the same height, versatility and overall physical advantages that have allowed SU to largely run through its nonconference schedule doomed the Golden Griffins to a familiar fate.“In the second half they just they came out and made some big plays, big shots,” Canisius head coach Jim Baron said. “They shot 62 percent for the second half, and made the extra pass.”SU enjoyed a size advantage, leaving Canisius to resort to fouls under the basket. Freshman center DaJuan Coleman was the main target. But he, like fellow center Baye Moussa Keita, Orange failed to make the Griffins pay in the first half. Both went 0-for-2 at the line.As a team the Orange shot just 5-of-11 at the line before halftime. The Griffins went 5-of-6.More damning was the Golden Griffins’ ownership of the boards. Only the 6-foot-10 Jordan Heath and his 6-foot-9 brother Josiah could stand up to Coleman, Rakeem Christmas or Moussa Keita, never mind SU’s lanky guards. And the Heath brothers were tepid at best. Only SU was preoccupied enough chasing around the Griffins guards that the Heaths had time to get open, receive a pass, realize they were open, and drive.“I think DaJuan got some opportunities there, he showed what he can do inside, and we’re still trying to get better on the defensive end with him,” Boeheim said. “With these smaller teams, we’re looking at three- and four-guard teams it’s really hard to play the two big guys together. It’s really hard to do.”Boeheim pointed to some long rebounds as a cause for the visitors’ edge on the boards, but there was no denying SU lacked the edge to put away its opponents early.“I thought the first half we really weren’t as good defensively as we need to be, we missed five or six free throws and missed, maybe three layups and you know, you just can’t do that,” Boeheim said. “You just can’t do that.”Triche didn’t start the second half strongly either, missing his second free throw just 10 seconds in.But then the game took a sharp turn.C.J. Fair sank a pair of free throws and Southerland hit a 3-pointer within 32 seconds of each other and suddenly the once-shaky 35-32-halftime lead had grown to a comfortable 41-32 lead that hardly shrunk.After the game, Boeheim referred to Carter-Williams as “the key.” The guard finished with 14 assists, but two plays midway through the second half signaled the end was near for Canisius.Up 50-37, Carter Williams drove down the right side of the paint, and seven feet out leapt for what would’ve been a dunk. He just missed off the back rim and was called for a charge, but it was clear Canisius was running out of gas.“At the end of the day the difference was they made shots, and they made big shots,” Baron said.With Syracuse up by 14 with just less than eight minutes left, Carter-Williams emphatically grabbed an offensive board over the head of Canisius’s Harold Washington.Canisius hung around, largely on the back of a 5-for-9 3-point shooting night from Isaac Sosa. But a furious 86-second, 7-0 run from the Orange sent the Golden Griffins packing.Christmas hit a jumper from the right elbow with 3:56 remaining. James Southerland nailed a 3 46 seconds later. Then Fair stole the ball, sparking a Southerland fast-break dunk, and finally Triche finished on the break with 2:30 remaining to give SU a 78-57 lead.Jerami Grant, Trevor Cooney and Moussa Keita all rose from the bench. Players that hardly saw the floor in the first half came on to finish an entirely different second.Said Southerland: “They were doing a good job but we just got our break.” Commentslast_img

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