It was the same story but different game Thursday for the nation's No. 1 team in the country, Syracuse University, as the Orange used an explosive 19-0 run at the end of the first half to help collect a 80-61 victory over visiting Tulane University in a non-conference men's basketball game at the Carrier Dome. Sophomore guard Dion Waiters came off the bench to score a team-best 15 points for the Orange (13-0), who used a 23-0, first-half run Saturday to take control in their 88-72 victory at North Carolina State University.
"That's the game of basketball," said Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim when asked about SU's recent ability to easily put together a consecutive string of points, "not just this team, but every team I think we've had. Basketball is pretty much a game of runs. I think that's pretty much what it always has been."
Thursday's victory allowed Syracuse to finish its non-conference, regular-season schedule unbeaten for the second straight season and begin Big East Conference play, which starts Wednesday, Dec. 28, against visiting Seton Hall Pirates, as the No. 1-ranked program.
Junior guard Brandon Triche tallied all nine of his points in the first half and helped SU take a 41-19 halftime lead. Junior forward James Southerland scored eight of his 10 points during the Orange's first-half run that actually extended into the second half and stopped at 20 with the score at 42-19 with 18:51 remaining.
Senior forward Kris Joseph was SU's second-best scorer with 13 points.
"We executed well, we got good shots and shared the ball," said Boeheim. "We got three or four extra-pass plays were everybody got a 3. James got one or two, and Kris got one and Brandon got one at the end. So, it was just good ball movement and getting the ball to the open man and guys made shots."
Junior guard Kendal Timmons scored a game-best 16 points for Tulane, which was able to trim the Orange margin to 15 points, 56-41, with 9:56 remaining, but never got closer. Freshman guard Ricky Tarrant also finished in double-digits with 15 points.
The Syracuse defense held Tulane to just 6-for-24 (24-percent) shooting in the first half, and 34-percent overall. The Orange also got 45 points for their bench, as freshman guard Michael Carter-Williams chipped in with seven points.
SB Nation New York blogged live from press row at the Carrier Dome Thursday night, as the Syracuse Orange defeated the Be sure to check back for postgame quotes from SU head coach Jim Boeheim. Visit SB Nation's Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician for more on Syracuse. Follow along on Twitter at SBNationNY or JaredSmithCNY.