The Syracuse Orange will try to tie two team-orientated school records Saturday, as they host the Providence Friars in a Big East Conference men's basketball contest at the Carrier Dome (6 p.m. on SNY). The Orange (18-0, 5-0 Big East) are searching for a win that would help match SU's best start to a season (19-0) and the most consecutive weeks ranked as the No. 1 team in the nation (6).
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On Wednesday, Syracuse used a game-best 20 points from sophomore guard Dion Waiters, who came off the bench, to help earn a victory at the Villanova Wildcats, 79-66. Junior forward James Southerland added 13 points for the Orange, who improved their record to 18-0 for the second straight season. Last year, SU's season-opening wininning streak ended, Jan. 17, at the Pittsburgh Panthers -- the Orange's opponent this coming Monday night.
Currently, senior forward Kris Joseph paces Syracuse in scoring with 13.8 points per game, while Waiters is averaging 12.9 ppg. However, in five league games, Waiters has averaged a team-best 14.6 ppg, while trailing him are Joseph (12.0) and junior guard Brandon Triche (11.8).
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Meanwhile, the Friars (12-6, 1-4) ended a four-game losing streak Tuesday night by manhandling No. 14 Louisville Cardinals, 90-59, on the road. Sophomores, forward Kadeem Batts and guard Bryce Cotton, each netted a game-best 27 points for Providence, which collected its largest margin of victory over a ranked opponent in program history.
Statically, junior guard Vincent Council is Providence leading scorer (16.4 ppg) and passer (7.1 apg), while sophomore guard Gerard Coleman is tallying 15.1 ppg.
Just nine days ago, Jan. 4, the Friars played toe-to-toe with the Orange for 30 minutes before the nation's top-ranked team pulled away for their 16th straight victory. Since then, Syracuse defeated the No. 25 Marquette Golden Eagles and Villanova, respectively, to maintain their unblemished record.
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