Syracuse was the first to score in their match with Eastern Michigan, but would then allow six unanswered points. The Orange would trail the Eagles until they tied the game at 12 apiece with just under nine minutes to play in the opening half.
“We did a pretty good job with the press and got some turnovers that kinda got us back in it quicker,” head coach Jim Boeheim expressed. Five early steals gave the Orange seven points, getting the game back even at 12-all.
Sophomore guard Michael Carter-Williams would assist senior guard Brandon Triche on the lay-in that led to the tie. Triche made both of his attempts from close to get Syracuse to the 12-12 situation.
Their first lead since they were up 2-0 would come at 8:13 remaining in the first half off of senior forward James Southerland’s first shot of the game, a short-range jumper.
Syracuse would extend out to an 18-point advantage going into the break and would not look back, attaining more than a 30-point victory, winning 84-48 over the Eastern Michigan Eagles and former assistant coach Rob Murphy.
The guards. Carter-Williams extended his consecutive-game streak of having at least nine assists per contest. In Syracuse’s last five games, Carter-Williams have attained at least nine helpers to his teammates. Against Eastern Michigan, Carter-Williams began with four in the first half and ended with 11 assists for the game.
After a late start in the first half, Carter-Williams, along with backcourt teammate Triche, would end the opening half leading the Orange in scoring with seven points apiece.
Carter-Williams finished the game with 11 points, only amounting four points in the second half on a tough overall shooting night, missing all of his four three-point attempts and going 3-for-9 overall.
Where he struggled in scoring, he helped the team in other key areas, stealing the ball three times to take away some of the Eagles' opportunities, battling back from the six Orange possessions he turned over to Eastern Michigan.
The sophomore guard added a block and five rebounds on defense, while grabbing two offensive boards.
Where Carter-Williams showed consistency in gaining assists, Triche did in points. Including this outing where he attained 12 points, Triche has scored in double-figures for Syracuse in all six of their games this season.
He made two more shots than Carter-Williams, connecting from where his backcourt teammate struggled, making two of his five attempts.
Triche, like Carter-Williams, got involved in many different ways to help guide the Orange to victory, with four rebounds, three on defense and one on offense, five assists, a block, and three steals.
But, unfortunately, also like Carter-Williams, Triche lost multiple possessions for Syracuse with four turnovers.
Filling out the backcourt, freshman guard Trevor Cooney added to the Orange as the game went on, achieving his highest point total of the season and his young college career with 11.
Coming into the season, Cooney was known for his ability to drain from deep. But, coming into this game, Cooney had a drought of three straight games without a made shot from beyond the arc, missing all 11 of his attempts.
He added four more misses in the match with Eastern Michigan before going 2-for-2 on final attempts from distance in the game.
“Trevor [Cooney] got going," Boeheim stated. "He’s a good shooter he’ll make some shots. It was good to get him going.”
After his first made three in 16 attempts, Cooney continued to impress, heading to the rim for his first dunk as a member of the Orange.
The forwards. Southerland was coming off of his career-high single-game performance of 35 points in a win over the Arkansas Razorbacks on the road.
In this match with Eastern Michigan, he amounted a mere four points.
"He rushed a little bit," said Boeheim. "I think he thought coming off the other night, if he just threw it up it would go in. And I think he rushed it a little bit early, but I told him, we needed him a little bit more the other night [versus Arkansas] than we did [against Eastern Michigan] so we’ll give ‘em a pass, for this game."
However, just as his nine-made threes contributed to the Orange win over Arkansas, his four points versus Eastern Michigan came at a time where Syracuse needed to be led back to the advantage after allowing Eastern Michigan an early lead. Southerland's back-to-back jumpers gave Syracuse the lead for the first time since they started the game up 2-0, a lead they would never relinquish.
Junior forward C.J. Fair also had a tough outing offensively, making three of his 10 attempts, all from inside the arc. He did, however, add nine points, and equaled both Carter-Williams and Triche with three steals, one off of an in-bound pass, leading to an immediate dunk.
Another of Fair's steals helped led to a Syracuse possession that resulted in a made three by Cooney.
Freshman forward Jerami Grant, like Cooney, amounted his highest single-game point total of his young career, also with 11. Grant had the best shooting night of all the Orange, going 4-for-4 from the field, including a connection from long range.
He fought for his points, including holding onto the ball one-handed as a defender put their hand on the ball to elevate for a one-handed jumper.
“I thought Jerami [Grant] had a really good first half when it was anybody’s game," Boeheim expressed. "He made some really good plays and I think that was good for ‘em.”
Grant added two boards and an assist on the offense as well as two blocks and two steals on the defensive end. This was the first game in Grant's collegiate career where he has attained at least one assist, steal, and block.
Sophomore forward Rakeem Christmas contributed six points in the game as well as continued to show his ability on the glass, grabbing six rebounds, five of them on the offensive end.
Christmas also kept his streak of at least one block per game alive with three blocks versus Eastern Michigan. He has now achieved multiple blocks in five of Syracuse's six games, including the last four straight.
At center. Freshman DaJuan Coleman made it a hat trick for the Orange newbies by attaining his highest single-game point total of his young career as well. Coleman's 14 led the entire team. He had his best game from the field, going 5-for-6.
At the charity stripe, Coleman continued to show improvement, making all four of his opportunities; he was the only Syracuse player not to miss from the free-throw line.
Coleman also grabbed five rebounds, four of them on the defensive end. He has now attained now less than three defensive rebounds in five straight games.
As far as holding onto the ball, Coleman had only one turnover in the last three games after giving possession away five times in the team's second match of the season versus Wagner. Despite recent success, Coleman gave the ball away three times against Eastern Michigan, but was able to steal possession away from the Eagles twice.
Speaking on both Coleman and Christmas, Boeheim had some big words for his big men. “I think with Rock (Rakeem Christmas) and DaJuan [Coleman], they just gotta keep working every day," "They just gotta keep getting better. They’re not there. We need them to keep getting better. Their progress is gonna determine where we go this year. They have to really keep working.”
Overall on offense. The Orange took more shots and made more in the first half than the Eagles, going 11-for-11 (35.5%), while Eastern Michigan shot 6-for-22 (27.3%).
In the second half, Syracuse made almost 20% more of their shots than in the opening half, shooting 51.4%, making 19 of their 37 attempts. They outshot Eastern Michigan once again, with the Eagles shooting 30.8%, connecting on 12 of their 39 tries.
Neither team shot well from long range in the first half, with the Orange and Eagles combining to make one of 16 attempts; Syracuse was 1-for-10, Eastern Michigan 0-for-6.
The latter half was not much better as the team's combined to make eight of 26 attempts, with the Orange slightly edging the Eagles, making four of their 12 attempts from deep to the Eagles four makes on 13 tries.
From the freebie line, Syracuse made 19 of their 25 attempts (76%), while Eastern Michigan went 8-for-12 (66.7%). Even more important, the Orange only sent the Eagles to their line 12 times, six times per half, while getting to the line at least 10 times per half.
On the offensive glass, Syracuse won the board battle, 20 to 15.
The Orange also achieved more assists, with 19 to the Eagles' 10.
Turnovers were the only category where the Orange amounted less than the Eagles. Eastern Michigan gave possession away 24 times, while Syracuse failed to hold onto possession on 18 occasions.
Boeheim utilized a full-court press throughout the majority of the first half. “They got a little bit shell-shocked, a little bit against the pressure, and we got some big turnovers,” said the Orange head coach.
Overall on defense. Despite Syracuse's offense losing possession on multiple occasions, their defense was able to give the offense more opportunities than the Eagles's defense did, stealing the ball 17 times while Eastern Michigan stole away 13 Syracuse possessions.
Syracuse also had a slight edge in blocks, knocking away 10 of Eastern Michigan's shots, while having seven of theirs sent away from the basket.
On the defensive glass, the Orange outdid the Eagles, 30 rebounds to 22.
Coming up: Syracuse will remain home to host the Long Beach State 49ers on Thursday, December 6th, at 8pm Eastern.