No. 3 Syracuse 85, George Washington 50
George Washington is Syracuse’s latest victim, getting
overpowered by the Orange’s zone defense and failing to take care
of the basketball.
The Colonials (4-5) fell, 85-50, to No. 3 Syracuse (10-0) on
Saturday night, their fourth straight loss, and went just 19 of 62
for 30.6 percent room the field while committing 18 turnovers that
led to 34 Orange points.
”I knew we’d have to make shots,” Colonials coach Mike
Lonergan said. ”Our best shooter is 2 for 11 and one of our other
scorers is 3 for 13 and we don’t have a whole lot inside.
”It was not exactly a good matchup for us.”
David Pellom had 12 points and seven rebounds, while Lasan
Kromah and Dwayne Smith each added 10 points for the Colonials.
Senior guard Tony Taylor, who came into the game averaging 14.1
points and was shooting 50 percent from the perimeter, had no such
luck against the Orange. He shot 2 of 8 overall and missed all four
shots he took from beyond the arc. As a team, the Colonials were
just 3 of 18 (16.7 percent) from 3-point range.
”It’s very tough,” Taylor said. ”Syracuse does a great job in
that 2-3 (zone), forces you to play outside your comfort zone. They
did a really good job forcing us into turnovers. We didn’t take
care of the ball.”
Dion Waiters had 19 points and six steals, both career highs, as
the unbeaten Orange (10-0) enjoyed a good day where things fell
into place. In the midst of a federal investigation, Syracuse is
poised to move to No. 1 in the national rankings after top-ranked
Kentucky lost to Indiana, 73-72, and No. 2 Ohio State lost to No.
13 Kansas, 78-67.
Kris Joseph had nine points and eight rebounds, and Scoop
Jardine, Brandon Triche, Fab Melo, and C.J. Fair each scored eight
for the Orange. Freshman guard Michael Carter-Williams had five
points and a season-high eight assists.
It was the fourth game for Syracuse since associate head coach
Bernie Fine was fired after allegations by three men that he
sexually molested them as minors. Two were former Orange ballboys.
Fine has maintained his innocence and no charges have been filed.
The investigation is expected to last several more weeks.
”If we lose a game, it’s not going to be because they’re
distracted,” coach Jim Boeheim said after Fine was fired Nov. 27.
”They have to be focused.”
So far, the Orange have been just that.
Having displayed great anticipation on defense, Syracuse entered
the game ranked first in the nation in steals, averaging 12.5 a
game, and second in turnover margin at plus-8.2, trailing only Ohio
State. The Colonials found out why at the outset as they struggled
to find any openings.
George Washington hit just 1 of its first 16 shots – a runner by
Bryan Bynes 3 minutes into the game. By the time Pellom converted a
layup 3 minutes later, Syracuse was up 13-4, led by six points from
George Washington, shooting 41.5 percent from beyond the arc
this season, was 2 of 9 in the first half as the Orange challenged
every shooter, registering five blocks and six steals. Having to
peer over the likes of the 7-foot Melo, Mikic missed his first five
shots and finished with six points on 2 of 11 shooting.
Trailing 37-21 after Melo followed his own miss with 5 minutes
to go in the first half, the frustration showed when Pellom threw a
pass from under the basket right to Jardine near the foul line, and
he scored on a breakaway layup.
When the Colonials pressed, Fair scored on a layup, and when the
Orange returned the favor by pressing on the next possession, Fair
stole the ball and fed Waiters for a resounding one-handed
Waiters made the free throw to complete a three-point play for a
26-12 lead midway through the half, and Michael Carter-Williams’
lob to Waiters in the final minute sent the Orange into the locker
room with a commanding 45-25 lead.
When Syracuse built the lead to 31 late in the second half, the
student section began chanting ”We’re No. 1.”
In the four-game skid – in which George Washington lost to
Kansas State, VCU, Loyola, Md., and now, Syracuse – the Colonials
have not topped 60 points in any game.