St. Francis (NY)-Syracuse Preview
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim knows his young team is a work in progress as it seeks a complete 40-minute effort.
The ninth-ranked Orange try to deliver one Monday night in their final tune-up before leaving for Hawaii as they host St. Francis of New York as part of the Maui Invitational.
After losing three of its top four scorers following a Final Four appearance, Syracuse (3-0) has posted a double-digit win at home in every game, but its play has been uneven at times en route to the final result. That was evident on the offensive end Saturday, when the Orange shot 36.8 percent in their 69-50 victory over Colgate.
"It was a learning experience. We were pretty solid defensively," Boeheim said after his team limited the Red Raiders to 36.2 percent shooting and outscored them 30-10 in the paint. "Offensively, we got the ball inside. There were more positive things."
C.J. Fair had 20 points and seven rebounds while freshman Tyler Ennis hit 4 of 6 from 3-point range to add 12 points. Still, Boeheim saw missed opportunities - the Orange were 12 of 28 from the foul line and missed six shots that were either layups or dunks - that can easily be addressed ahead.
"You can't miss 16 free throws. We missed three dunks and three other layups. You have to capitalize on those things," he said. "We didn't make a lot of turnovers but we made three or four bad ones in transition when we could score. Overall it was a learning experience."
Usually, the length of the Orange's 2-3 zone defense causes problems on the perimeter - last season they held opponents to 28.4 percent from 3-point range. That hasn't been the case so far as all three opponents have made at least 10 shots from beyond the arc and are shooting 36.8 percent from long range.
St. Francis (2-1), though, doesn't seem equipped to continue that trend - it's made 29.1 percent (16 of 55) of its 3-point shots. The Terriers were 4 of 12 from beyond the arc and committed 21 turnovers in a 78-58 loss at Dayton on Saturday.
Jalen Cannon had 14 points and eight rebounds as St. Francis' defense failed to deliver for the first time. It limited Miami and Florida Atlantic to a combined 32.7 percent shooting in a pair of road victories before the Flyers made 51.0 percent.
Cannon leads the team at 14.0 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, and freshman Wayne Martin has contributed 12.7 points per game on 57.7 percent shooting.
Fair is averaging 21.7 points but has committed 15 of Syracuse's 35 turnovers.
The Orange will open play in Hawaii against Minnesota on Nov. 25, while the Terriers will play at Coastal Carolina on Friday before concluding their Maui Invitational play there against either Oakland or Louisiana on Saturday.
Syracuse has won all three games between the teams, most recently a 75-51 rout Dec. 13, 2009.