By Pat Taggart, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Carrier Dome (33,633) -- Syracuse, New York. Television: Big East Network. Home Record: Colgate 2-0, Syracuse 6-0. Away Record: Colgate 0-5, Syracuse 0-0. Neutral Record: Colgate 0-0, Syracuse 3-0. Conference Record: Colgate 0-0, Syracuse 0-0. Series Record: Syracuse leads, 117-45.
GAME NOTES: The eighth-ranked and unbeaten Syracuse Orange are coming off a statement victory, and they have an outstanding chance to add another non- conference win to their record tonight against the winless Colgate Raiders.
Members of the Patriot League, the Raiders have lost all seven of their games thus far and haven't scored more than 66 points in any of them. On Tuesday, Colgate dropped a 68-57 decision to St. Francis (NY), and five of the setbacks have come on the road.
As for Syracuse, it proved to be a legitimate national title contender by disposing of Michigan State in a 72-58 final on Tuesday to move to 9-0 overall. The Orange have allowed 60 or fewer points in all but two games thus far, as tremendous defense has been key to their success. With victories over the likes of Michigan, Michigan State, Georgia Tech and NC State, no one can accuse Syracuse of playing a light non-conference slate, and this team figures to make some significant noise in the Big East.
Syracuse holds a commanding 117-45 series advantage over Colgate, which includes a 92-58 romp over the Raiders last season.
There is only one double-digit scorer on the roster for the offensively- challenged Raiders, as Yaw Gyawu is netting 13.7 ppg to go along with his team-high 5.3 rpg. Colgate is generating just 61.0 ppg on 40.2 percent shooting from the field, and the club is allowing 75.7 ppg to opponents. The fact that the Raiders have committed 124 turnovers while forcing foes into just 82 giveaways helps explain the 0-7 start. Colgate turned the ball over 25 times against St. Francis on Tuesday, and a 20-9 deficit in points from the foul line also hurt the cause. Defensively, the Raiders played quite well, limiting the opposition to 37.5 percent shooting from the floor. Clearly, however, that strong effort was wasted. Gyawu and Joe Hoban both netted 14 points, while Chad Johnson tallied 12 points off the bench.
Opponents are only managing 58.8 ppg against Syracuse, which is holding foes to 37.6 percent shooting from the floor, including 28.1 percent from three- point range. The Orange are outrebounding teams by nearly five boards per contest while generating 70.1 ppg at the offensive end. Kris Joseph leads Syracuse with 13.8 ppg, and Rick Jackson is close behind with 13.6 ppg. A 56.5 percent shooter from the field, Jackson is also ripping down 12.8 rpg, more than double the average of his closest teammate. Rounding out a trio of double-digit scorers is Scoop Jardine with 13.2 ppg. Jardine came through with 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the floor in the thrilling win over Michigan State, and Jackson posted 17 points and 16 boards in that affair. As for Joseph, he tallied 14 points for the Orange, who shot just 2-of-11 from three-point range. Fortunately, the club earned a 22-9 edge in points from the foul line and a 38-30 rebounding advantage. Syracuse forced 17 turnovers and held the Spartans to 38.9 percent shooting from the field.
There is no reason to believe that the Raiders will even be close in this contest, as Syracuse is clearly the superior team. The Orange will continue to play smothering defense as they move to 10-0.