Monmouth (NJ)-Syracuse Preview

It’s been nearly four years since Syracuse has lost a

regular-season meeting with a non-conference opponent, and that run

may not be in much jeopardy for the rest of 2012.

The No. 4 Orange look to continue that dominant streak while

extending another at the Carrier Dome on Saturday night against

Monmouth, which will be without suspended coach King Rice.

Syracuse (7-0) last fell to a team outside of the Big East

during the regular season on Dec. 15, 2008, losing 72-69 to

Cleveland State. The Orange have won 49 in a row since, outscoring

opponents by an average of 21.7 points while holding them to 36.5

percent shooting.

The remaining schedule for the year would indicate that Syracuse

has a strong chance to continue that dominance. After facing the

Hawks (5-4) for the first time, the Orange meet Canisius, Detroit,

Temple, Alcorn State and Central Connecticut State at the Carrier


Syracuse has also compiled an overall home winning streak that

is the longest in the nation at 27 games, dating to a 64-56 defeat

to then-No. 11 Georgetown on Feb. 9, 2011.

Capitalizing on the upcoming schedule would also push Jim

Boeheim further up the all-time Division I wins list. He’s three

shy of 900 and five back of Bob Knight for second place.

Continued success on the boards should keep the Orange rolling.

They have held the edge on the glass in every game, including a

53-39 advantage in Thursday’s 84-53 romp of Long Beach State.

Syracuse is among the best rebounding teams in the nation at

44.9 per game after averaging 34.7 last season.

“I think our only deficiency as a team was rebounding,” senior

guard Brandon Triche said. “We were so good offensively, but teams

would still beat us by five or even 10 rebounds. This year it just

makes us a better team. We’re able to get in transition a lot

better and get more possessions.”

C.J. Fair leads the team with 6.6 rebounds per game while adding

11.6 points. The junior forward is coming off one of his best

performances of the season, pulling down a career-high 13 boards

while pouring in 16 points with two steals against the 49ers.

Michael Carter-Williams leads the nation with an average of 9.6

assists, and he’s working on a fourth double-double in a row after

compiling 15 points with 10 assists Thursday.

The sophomore guard is averaging 14.3 points, 10.0 assists, 6.7

rebounds and 3.0 steals over the last three games.

Carter-Williams and the Orange may be under increased pressure,

though, as Monmouth leads the country with 22.1 turnovers forced

per game.

The Hawks weren’t as effective Wednesday, pressing Navy into 12

turnovers while committing 17 of their own in an 85-66 home loss

that snapped a four-game winning streak. Rice was critical of the

referees after the game, accusing them of a personal vendetta, and

he’s been suspended for this contest.

Sophomore guard Andrew Nicholas paces the Hawks with 15.7 points

per game, and he’s averaging 17.8 over the past four.

Monmouth has been outscored by an average of 27.8 points during

an 11-game losing streak against ranked opponents since 1999. The

Hawks fell 84-57 to then-No. 20 Notre Dame on Nov. 12.