Syracuse Basketball Notes 12.21.11: Michael Carter-Williams, Rakeem Christmas, 'Bad' Offense

The No. 1-ranked Syracuse University men's basketball program earned their 12th straight victory Tuesday night, as they defeated Bucknell University, 80-61. Here are some postgame notes from the victory.

Thanks to an 80-61 victory over Bucknell University Tuesday the nation's No. 1 ranked men's basketball program, Syracuse University, remains unbeaten. The Orange (12-0) used a game-best 17 points from senior forward Kris Joseph and a surprisingly good showing from freshman forward Rakeem Christmas (10 points and five rebounds) to collect their ninth home victory of the season. 

After the game, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim addressed a few issues, so I figured I'd share some postgame notes if you missed them.

Dion Waiters' Second-Half Absence; Michael Carter-Williams' Playing Time

In the second half of Tuesday's contest, sophomore guard Dion Waiters did not play. For those who were worrying that it was his bandaged hand that kept him out, it wasn't:

"We wanted to get Michael some opportunities and he’s still trying to figure it out," said Boeheim. "He made a couple really good plays at the end so I’m glad we were able to leave him in there to get that experience. It was a 13-point game when he made a great drive and dish out to Scoop for a three – then he made four free throws and made good defensive plays. So, that was good for him." 


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2011 - Michael Carter-Williams 11 13.4 0.9 3.1 29.4 0.2 0.8 22.2 0.7 1.4 53.3 0.4 1.6 2.0 2.9 1.0 1.0 0.5 0.7 2.7

Rakeem Christmas Is Too Nice

As I mentioned, Christmas, who netted seven of Syracuse's first nine points and snagged four rebounds, had a great early-game showing. But, Christmas was yanked after the first four minutes of the game and didn't return for the rest of the first half. In the second half, Christmas played sparingly and was able to nail a free throw and push his point total into double figures with a putback.

"Rakeem works in practice, but basically he is too nice," said Boeheim. "He needs to get more physical on the basketball court. You can be as nice as you want off the court. Carmelo Anthony is the quietest, nicest kid off the court but once he gets on the court it is serious business. He’s physical and he’s going to play you hard and Rock needs to use those skills. 

"He’s a physical type player, he’s not a finesse player and he’s not a shooter. He’s got to be a physical player. He’s got to be a warrior down there and right now he’s a nice kid. He has to be able to go on the court and be a warrior and he isn’t right now. This team didn’t block him out and weren’t physical with him so he got to the basket and made some plays. Most teams we play aren’t going to let that happen.
 
It takes time. I’ve seen almost no big guys come in and be physical. Hakim Warrick played in the NBA six or seven years and his freshman year he couldn’t even play in this league. He got better. He’ll get better." 


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2011 - Rakeem Christmas 12 12.8 1.6 2.3 67.9 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.7 1.0 66.7 1.4 1.6 3.0 0.1 1.0 0.3 0.6 1.7 3.8

Syracuse's "Bad" Offense

The most glaring comment that Boeheim said Tuesday night was addressing the offense. Here's what he said:

"We’re a pretty good offensive team. I think people are worried about that and I’m not sure why. We’re a pretty good offensive team."

Now, I hate to finger point, but it was just a few weeks ago, after a 62-56 victory over Marshal, Boeheim said this:

"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." 

I am almost positive that a majority of SU fans, media members, ect. think the Orange have a pretty solid offense and always have. But, after that Marshall game, which featured SU improving to 9-0, Boeheim tried to nitpick and single out the offense, which then probably led to some criticism.. 

I am not going to rant on about this, but for those who'd like some inside on what it's like to be inside a Jim Boeheim presser. Well, that's what some of the local media guys need to deal with sometimes. 


Orange Basketball Schedule

Next 5 Games

Tulane Thu 12/22 7:00 PM EST
Seton Hall Wed 12/28 7:00 PM EST
@ DePaul Sun 01/01 5:00 PM EST
@ Providence Wed 01/04 9:00 PM EST
Marquette Sat 01/07 4:00 PM EST

Last 5 Games

Bucknell Tue 12/20 W 80 - 61
@ N.C. State Sat 12/17 W 88 - 72
George Washington Sat 12/10 W 85 - 50
Marshall Tue 12/06 W 62 - 56
Florida Fri 12/02 W 72 - 68

SB Nation New York blogged from press row at the Carrier Dome Tuesday night, as theSyracuse Orange beat the Bucknell Bison. Be sure to check back for more postgame stuff and visit SB Nation's Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician for everything SU. Follow along on Twitter at SBNationNY or JaredSmithCNY.


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