Syracuse went on a 15-0 spurt in the first half and never looked back, defeating Providence, 78-55 Saturday night in the Carrier Dome. With the victory, Syracuse ties the school-record for most consecutive wins to begin a season (19) and head coach Jim Boeheim comes within one win from tying Adolph Rupp on the all-time wins list.
After struggling to put points on the board early in the game with a half court offense, Syracuse used a full-court press to speed up the game. It worked.
Providence, without its starting point guard Vincent Council, had a lot of trouble against the press, a rare wrinkle to the Orange defense.
“The press helped,” sophomore Dion Waiters said. “Yesterday we worked on it for the first time in a long time.”
Ed Cooley, the first-year head coach at Providence, was visibly upset with his team’s execution of the gamelan verse SU.
“Our whole thing was don’t turn the ball over,” he said after the game.
Instead, the Friars did so 22 times, while only registering 11 assists. Syracuse was able to take advantage of the Friars’ lackluster ball security by scoring 25 points off turnovers. In what has been a season long trend, the Orange were able to get easy points off turnovers and in transition.
“When we force turnovers, we convert better than most people,” Boeheim said after the game.
Syracuse was led by senior point guard Scoop Jardine’s ten points and nine assists.
“Scoop played really well tonight... he was exceptional, really exceptional,” Boeheim said.
After being up 17-16, Syracuse unleashed its press and went on its 15-0 run. Providence was held without a field goal for a ten-minute stretch. The run woke up the crowd and gave Syracuse needed momentum going into the half.
“It’s always been a game of runs... it’s the nature of the game,” Boeheim said.
Although the Orange struggled from deep (5-20), they were effective offensively because of their selflessness. Syracuse tallied 23 assists on its 30 made field goals and turned the ball over only eight times.
“They work hard, play together and look for each other,” Boeheim explained.
Despite the dominant showing, the Orange struggled off the glass. Providence had 17 offensive boards and out-rebounded Syracuse 43-39. To make a deep run in March, SU will need to limit second chance opportunities and control the glass.
With that said, Syracuse has the length and depth to win, even if they lose the rebounding battle. For now, the Orange is focused on the road ahead and taking the season game by game.
“I have a feeling that I’m going to get sent off in a good way,” Joseph said when asked about the rest of his senior season. “But at the end of the day we have a lot of basketball left to play.”