Manhattan Jaspers run over by No. 5 Syracuse 92-56
Steve Masiello spent the last six years on Rick Pitino's staff at Louisville and helped the Cardinals enjoy great success against Syracuse - seven straight wins and counting.
But this year Masiello is in his first season as head coach at Manhattan, and on Monday night he must have thought he was watching his old team play.
It took No. 5 Syracuse about 5 minutes to find a rhythm against the Manhattan press, and once the Orange did it was off to the races as they beat the Jaspers 92-56 in the NIT Season Tip-Off.
Syracuse had 27 fast-break points and 20 points from the bench in the first half as Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim used 10 players.
''They've normally been a seven-, eight-man rotation,'' Masiello said. ''Now, they can play 10 or 11 and you can't wear them down. If you get someone in foul trouble, you're coming off the bench with James Southerland. They can hurt you in a lot of ways.''
Reserve Dion Waiters had 17 points and Kris Joseph and Southerland each had 15 to lead five players in double figures.
Syracuse had won 11 straight in the series against Manhattan (1-1), the most recent 87-82 in overtime six years ago. This one was over at halftime.
The Orange were 22 of 38 (57.9 percent) in the opening period, 7 of 13 from beyond the arc, with Joseph hitting 3 of 4 to go over 1,000 points in his career. And the Syracuse defense forced 16 turnovers, blocked seven shots, and held the Jaspers to 9 of 29 shooting (31 percent) as the Orange built a 52-26 lead at the break.
''We had too many turnovers, took a lot of challenged shots and didn't get back in transition,'' said Kidani Brutus, who led the Jaspers with 15 points, all on 3-pointers. ''They're real long, so it's hard to get into the gaps. We was a little timid. In the second half, we picked it up. In the first half, we just had too many turnovers.''
George Beamon had 14 points and five rebounds for the Jaspers.
Brandon Triche had 12 points and 7-foot center Fab Melo again was a force down low, finishing with 11 points, a career-high nine rebounds, and four of the Orange's 10 blocks.
The Orange (2-0) will play Albany (1-1) at home on Tuesday night. The Great Danes beat Brown 77-68 earlier Monday in the Carrier Dome. Gerardo Suero had 29 points and Logan Aronhalt added 19 points and 13 rebounds to lead Albany.
After Michael Alvarado hit a wide-open 3 to give Manhattan an 8-5 lead, Waiters and C.J. Fair combined to steal an inbounds pass and set up Triche for a dunk. That started a 15-0 spurt that included 3-pointers from Triche and Waiters and was capped by Waiters' steal and dunk.
Like Fordham on Saturday, the Jaspers had to work for open looks and there weren't many. Brutus ended the Syracuse surge with a 3 from the left wing, which was in the air as the shot clock buzzer went off and prompted Boeheim to shake his head in frustration despite a 20-11 lead midway through the first half.
There wasn't much else to be upset about. Masiello likened this Syracuse team to the one led by Carmelo Anthony that won the 2003 national championship.
''They're a very good team. I've been playing them for a while, and this is as good as I've seen probably since the Carmelo year,'' Masiello said. ''They have great depth, which is something they haven't always had, so they don't wear down. They force you to do a lot of things you don't want to do, and they deserve a lot of credit.''
Joseph hit 3-pointers on consecutive trips down the court to surpass 1,000 points for his career, then stole the ball for a dunk and a 30-11 lead with 8:08 left in the first half.
Another 3 by Brutus off a steal and a layup by Beamon moved Manhattan within 36-22, but the Orange closed the half with a 16-4 run. It was capped by 3-pointers from Triche and Southerland and another steal and dunk by Waiters, giving Syracuse a 52-26 halftime lead.
Just how frustrating it was for the Jaspers was no more evident than in the closing seconds of the half. Deep on the right side and not open, Triche fired a cross-court pass to Southerland and he drained a 3 in a flash. Eight seconds later, Waiters was slamming home his third steal.
Syracuse didn't score its first basket of the second half until Melo's tip at 13:20 and still increased its lead as the Jaspers committed 10 fouls in the first 6 minutes and the Orange hit nine free throws while holding Manhattan scoreless for just over 5 minutes.