E. Michigan-Syracuse Preview

Syracuse remained unbeaten well into last season, and its

favorable upcoming schedule lends reason to believe it could happen


The fourth-ranked Orange seek their 48th straight regular-season

non-conference victory when they host Eastern Michigan on Monday


Syracuse won its first 20 games of 2011-12 before a loss at

Notre Dame on Jan. 21 en route to a 34-3 overall record, a No. 1

seed in the NCAA tournament and an appearance in the regional


The Orange (5-0) got a tough challenge at Arkansas on Sunday but

ultimately stayed perfect with a 91-82 victory behind a career-high

35 points from James Southerland.

The senior forward finished 12 of 17 from the field, including a

career-best nine 3-pointers on 13 attempts. Southerland’s previous

career high was 22 points – Nov. 21 against Princeton.

“It felt good when I hit that first shot,” said Southerland,

averaging 19.2 points. “I wasn’t expecting to be that open, but I

was open and you have to knock it down when you’re open,


The Orange fended off the Razorbacks’ full-court pressure with

help from point guard Michael Carter-Williams, who handed out nine

assists and leads the nation with 9.2 per contest.

“You’ve got to attack it. You’re going to get some open shots,”

coach Jim Boeheim said. “It’s just a question of if you’re going to

make them, and James was right there all night.

“Michael did a great job of finding him.”

Carter-Williams, who also ranks second nationally with 3.8

steals per game, added 17 points and 10 rebounds Sunday.

It doesn’t appear Syracuse will have much trouble remaining

unbeaten and continuing its streak of regular-season non-conference

victories before beginning Big East play against Rutgers on Jan. 2,

which will mark its ninth straight home game.

The rest of the Orange’s non-conference schedule doesn’t feature

a single team from a major conference – Arkansas of the SEC is the

only one on the entire non-conference slate – with currently 5-0

Temple possibly providing the biggest challenge Dec. 22.

Though Eastern Michigan brings a couple of familiar faces to the

Carrier Dome, it is unlikely to be much of a threat to a Syracuse

team which hasn’t lost in the regular season to a non-Big East foe

since falling to Cleveland State on Dec. 15, 2008.

Coach Rob Murphy spent seven years as an assistant to Boeheim

before taking the Eagles’ job prior to last season, and leading

rebounder Da’Shonte Riley played his freshman season at Syracuse

before transferring.

Murphy has Eastern Michigan (5-1) off to a solid start after

leading the program to its first-ever MAC West Division title in


Riley is averaging 7.2 rebounds after grabbing a career-high 13

in the Eagles’ latest game, a 75-57 win over NAIA Madonna (Mich.)

on Nov. 24. Riley, who also had seven points and five blocks in

that victory, appeared in 17 games for the Orange in 2009-10 before

sitting out his sophomore season with an injury and following

Murphy to Eastern Michigan.

Daylen Harrison has totaled 33 points and 21 rebounds over the

Eagles’ last two games and averages a team-high 14.2 points.

Syracuse is averaging 80.2 points, but Eastern Michigan allows

52.7 per contest to rank seventh in the nation.

The Orange, though, held the Eagles to 34.7 percent shooting in

an 84-48 win last season as Southerland scored a game high-tying 19


Eastern Michigan has lost its last 10 games against ranked teams

by double digits.