George Washington-Syracuse Preview

Since Syracuse last played, a district attorney in upstate New

York announced he believes the two men that accused Bernie Fine of

sexual abuse are credible, but he can’t bring charges against the

former assistant coach because the statute of limitations has

passed.

Once again, the latest chapter in this ugly investigation is

unlikely to have much of an impact on the focused basketball

team.

The third-ranked Orange look to open with 10 straight wins for

the third consecutive season when they host George Washington on

Saturday night.

Syracuse opened 9-0 for the fourth straight year with Tuesday’s

62-56 victory over Marshall. Dion Waiters had 15 points, Kris

Joseph added 11 and Scoop Jardine finished with 10 points, seven

rebounds and four assists for the Orange, who led by as many as 17

and were still up 14 late until the Herd put together a frantic

rally. Marshall was 5 of 8 from 3-point range in the final 4:55

after missing its first 16 from beyond the arc.

The following morning, Onondaga County District Attorney William

Fitzpatrick announced that he won’t pursue a state case against

Fine.

It’s been more than three weeks since the allegations against

Fine surfaced and sex abuse victims’ advocates have called for Jim

Boeheim’s firing, but the Orange aren’t letting this interfere with

their play.

“We’re not distracted at all,” Waiters said. “Just continue to

play basketball at the end of the day.”

Syracuse is playing sound defense, allowing an average 58.1

points on 37.6 percent shooting, and leads the nation with an

average of 12.4 steals.

“I think it may be just a comfort level of guys being in the

defense for a while now,” Boeheim said. “I just think we’ve been

more active, we’re covering areas better, I think our zone is

better than it’s been.”

The offense still has a way to go, but the team isn’t too

concerned.

Joseph, whose brother Maurice is the assistant director of

basketball operations for George Washington, is averaging 12.0

points on 39.4 percent shooting in the last three games after

averaging 15.3 points on 49.3 percent shooting in the first six.

Junior Brandon Triche, second on Syracuse in scoring with an

average of 11.4 points, matched a season low with six on 3 of 9

shooting against Marshall.

“The offense will come,” Waiters said. “We are not worried about

that, but as long as the defensive tempo is there, everything else

will pick up itself.”

At least Syracuse’s offense is showing more life than George

Washington’s.

The Colonials (4-4) are averaging 57.0 points on 38.1 percent

shooting during their three-game losing streak. In Wednesday’s

65-55 loss to Loyola (Md.), reserve forward David Pellom had a

career-high 19 points, while Tony Taylor, George Washington’s only

player to average in double figures with 14.1 points, scored

six.

The Colonials have lost 11 straight games to ranked opponents

since beating then-No. 21 Maryland 78-70 on Dec. 5, 2005. In its

only game this season against a Top 25 foe, George Washington

suffered an 81-54 loss to No. 24 California on Nov. 13.

The Colonials haven’t faced Syracuse since a 111-104 overtime

victory in the 1994 preseason NIT. The Orange had won the first six

meetings.