Composure: Syracuse went into a hostile environment in front of a packed Dunk and didn’t wince once. The Friar fans were hoping for a repeat of the last time a No. 1 team came to Providence, when Pittsburgh was taken down in 2009. There were a few fleeting moments in the first half, but the Orange never were in serious jeopardy of folding.
“Their bench is ridiculous,” Providence coach Ed Cooley said after the Friars lost 87-73 to the top-ranked Orange in a game it led by five points seven minutes into the first half and was within two possessions in the second.
“They’ve got pros coming off the bench. They’ve got a great team. They’ve got starters off the bench, like [Dion] Waiters. He may be one of the best players in the country. They’ve got guys who didn’t play who would start for us. I like their team. I love them. I just don’t coach them.”
Six of Boeheim’s players finished in double figures. Jardine had a double-double with 11 assists, Triche made four consecutive shots at one point to keep Providence at bay and Southerland had only five points, but knocked down a huge 3-pointer with eight minutes left that put Syracuse up by 12. Waiters came up with a couple of huge baskets down the stretch — including one with 4:20 remaining on a perfect pass from Jardine. Carter-Williams, a freshman, played exceptionally well in the first half — but didn’t even see the floor after the break.
“I’ve got to imagine it’s a tough job for Coach rotating guys in and out,” Joseph said. “He’s subbing like hockey, but he makes it work. I don’t think any of the guys are unhappy with their playing time. Everyone understands their role.”
Friar Basketball: Friars Fight, Fall Short Versus #1 Syracuse
Yes, Providence eventually fell by 14 to the top team in the country, but with every occasion in which it looked as though Syracuse would pull away, Providence showed the grit that their coach vowed to bring with him when he took the job.
Providence lost to a more talented and deeper Syracuse team on Wednesday night, but they were far from the emotionally fragile group they had been the past two seasons – not with the powerful Cooley willing his team and his crowd back into the game at times when both might have checked out in the past.
GoLocalProv: #1 Syracuse slides past Providence, 87-73
The Friars weren’t through just yet. With Syracuse holding a 12-point lead, PC narrowed the margin to seven with 9:22 to play, and had the chance to cut it to a five-point game before a couple of misses at the free throw line by Batts. Still, with SU up by 12 and 7:23 left, the Friars made yet another run to pull within 70-64 and 5:42 remaining, as LaDontae Henton (11 points, 13 rebounds), Cotton (13 points) and Gerard Coleman (17 points) all connected. Syracuse’s superior shooting night kept the Friars from pulling closer, with the Orange connecting on a phenomenal 73% from the floor in the half.
PC actually shot 50% from the floor themselves in the second half. But Syracuse was just that much better on this night.
Woonsocket Call: Cooley says thanks but no thanks to Boeheim’s praise
The Friars played at an especially deliberate pace, utilizing almost every second of the 35-second shot clock. Such strategy was by design with Cooley wanting Providence to show patience against Syracuse’s trademark zone while preventing the Orange’s fast break attack from kicking into gear.
Every time the Friars were left with 10 seconds remaining on the shot clock, assistant coach Bob Simon would bellow “10.” PC ended up shooting 49 percent for the game.
“You have to strategically know what you’re trying to do when game planning. I didn’t want to get into a track meet because we don’t have a lot of depth,” Cooley. “As long as there’s a half-a-second on the shot clock, you can still get a shot up. We’re not in a rush, especially when you’re playing against that level of talent.”
Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician: Syracuse 87 – Providence 73: Set Friars To The Rain
The Orange are now 16-0, which is the third-longest season-opening streak since James Arthur took over. The record, as you’re going to hear mentioned often, is 19-0 and last year the team made it to 18-0. An extremely ticked off Marquette Golden Eagles squad will be visiting the Dome this Saturday. We owe them a bit of payback as you might remember, so it should be an emotional one all-around.
Syracuse.com: Syracuse Post-Standard basketball writer Mike Waters recaps the Orange’s 87-73 win
Syracuse’s game against the Providence Friars on Wednesday took on the feel of a boxing match with the challenger delivering a solid punch only to have the champ counter.
Time and again, the upset-minded Friars would make a big play or hit a clutch shot only to watch No. 1 ranked Syracuse counter with a big shot of its own.
Syracuse.com: Syracuse Basketball vs Providence Recap: The Sunny Side
The Providence Friars (and the officiating crew of Bob Donato, Ray Natili, Mike Roberts) gave Syracuse all they could handle in that 87-73 win by the Orange at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Wednesday night.
Syracuse.com: Syracuse Basketball vs Providence Recap: The Dark Side
A rare complaint about the defense, but the zone just wasn’t as aggressive as we have seen it this year.
Part of that was due to Providence’s strategy, and Ed Cooley deserves some credit for that, but Syracuse fans have been spoiled by a defense that averages 11 steals a game. It is natural to think that is going to fade out a tad with stiffer competition on the way, but they are what they are at this point on defense and anything but a 100 MPH effort there leaves you scratching your head a bit.
ANALYSIS: Syracuse’s depth was on display tonight, especially at the center position. With Fab Melo and Rakeem Christmas in foul trouble the whole and Baye Keita sitting out with a hip injury, SU coach Jim Boeheim was forced to play CJ Fair at center during a stretch in the second half. While certainly not ideal, Fair held his own, even drawing a charge on one play. With its defense struggling, the Orange relied on its offense and it produced as Syracuse shot 60.4 percent from the field and 10-for-17 from 3-point land.
Providence executed a good game plan last night. They pushed the ball in transition when they had the opportunity but slowed it down in the halfcourt and methodically attacked the 2-3 zone. They attacked from the middle with many buckets starting from the free throw line. Kadeem Batts was particularly effective at that spot, knocking down a couple jumpers and driving to the bucket another time. Their guards would slash through the middle and either work their way in for a close range shot/layup or kick it out for a few good 3-point looks.