Behind another stat-stuffing performance from senior point guard Scoop Jardine, who tallied 10 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals Tuesday, the Syracuse University men's basketball program beat Marshall University, 62-56, in a non-conference game at the Carrier Dome in front of 19,817 fans. Sophomore guard Dion Waiters netted a team-best 15 points off the bench for the Orange (9-0), ranked No. 3 in the AP Poll, who remained unbeaten, while the Thundering Herd fell to 5-2 overall.
Waiters netted eight points in the first half for SU, which led 31-18 at halftime. The Orange increased its lead to a game-high 17 points, 43-26, with 11:42 remaining in the second half.
Trailing by 15 with 6:41 to go, Marshall did make things interesting using a small 10-4 run to trim SU's margin to single digits, 53-45, with 3:59 to go. The Thundering Herd got to within seven, 61-53, with 21.6 seconds to go and used a late 3-pointer with 2.4 second remaining to cut the Orange margin to six. However, it was a little too late, as the Orange held on for their seventh home victory of the season.
"Our defense was very really good," said Orange head coach Jim Boehiem after the game. "The entire game we really did a good job. They didn't make anything which helps. I thought we kept moving, kept the ball out of the middle."
"Offensively, we probably had 10 fast break opportunities that we didn't convert and we have to convert those. We just made some bad decisions. You got to convert those. It's just disappointing."
For Marshall, junior forward Dennis Tinnon led all scorers with 17 points and 15 rebounds, while sophomore forward DeAndre Kane compiled nine points and snagged 10 rebounds. What did the Thundering Herd in was a total of 19 turnovers and the inability to hit the 3-point shot (5-of-24, 20.8-percent).
In the first half, Syracuse used a 22-6 run, sparked by eight points from Waiters, to take a commanding 28-12 lead with 5:41 to go. Marshall used a quick 6-0 run to trim SU's lead to 28-18, but a 3-ball from junior forward James Southerland gave the Orange a 13-point lead heading into halftime.
Syracuse finished the game with 12 turnovers and shot 41.5-percent from the field. However, Marshall collected 26 defensive rebounds to just six offensive boards for SU. Overall, the Thundering Herd out-rebounded the Orange, 46-33.
"We have not played well offensively, by any stretch of the imagination, by any interpretation of good offense, at all," said Boeheim. "Turnovers on fast-break situations where you should score not turn it over. It's not like you were being trapped and you turned it over. Just some offensive errors that, you know, would think coming into these two games that if you played this way you would lose one or both. So, I think we got to feel fortunate that we won both, and we got to also get better on the offensive end."
Southerland finished the game with six points, while senior forward Kris Joseph scored 11 points and collected nine rebounds. Sophomore center Fab Melo tallied nine points and four blocks.
At the end of the day, it was another good win for SU. Jardine and Waiters both did their things, again, while Joseph, Southerland and Baye Moussa Keita were steady.
In 12 playing minutes, freshman Michael Carter-Williams played probably his best game to date -- three points, two assists and two rebounds. However, sophomore forward C.J. Fair (zero points, one rebound) probably played his worst game of the season.
Luckily, one or two players' bad game will not doom this squad. It's okay for a player like Fair, who may I remind you comes off the bench with Waiters, to have a bad game every once in awhile because there are other guys that can pick up his slack. Cater-Williams, who provided just of enough spark of the bench, was a good example of that Tuesday.
The Syracuse basketball schedule features the Orange hosting George Washington University, Sat., Dec. 10, and traveling to North Carolina State University, Sat., Dec. 17.
SB Nation New York blogged from press row at the Carrier Dome Tuesday night, as the Syracuse Orange hosted the Be sure to check out, SB Nation's Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician for everything SU. Follow along on Twitter at SBNationNY or JaredSmithCNY.