GAME NOTES: The fifth-ranked Syracuse Orange are set for what certainly appears to be a mismatch against the Colgate Raiders.
Colgate opened its season with a narrow victory over Binghamton, but the next game yielded drastically different results. The Raiders dropped a 68-41 decision to Wisconsin, a team that plays tough defense much like this afternoon's opponent. Colgate competes in the Patriot League and will play a rather modest non-conference slate after tonight's affair.
The Syracuse program is embroiled in some controversy, as long-time assistant coach Bernie Fine has been accused of molesting two former ball boys. Fine has been placed on administrative leave and won't be on the bench for the 3-0 Orange this afternoon. The Big East Conference power has won all three of its games by no fewer than 24 points, including Tuesday's 98-74 romp over Albany.
Syracuse owns a 118-45 series lead over Colgate and hasn't lost to the Raiders since 1962, despite playing almost every season.
Through two outings, Colgate is averaging just 59.5 ppg while allowing 71.0 ppg to opponents. The only double-digit scorer on the roster for the Raiders is Mike Venezia, as he is netting 14.0 ppg despite his 38.1 percent shooting from the field. Against Wisconsin last time out, Colgate shot just 33.3 percent from the floor in the first half and trailed by 22 points at intermission. The club then hit just eight field goals over the final 20 minutes, crushing any hope of a comeback. The Raiders finished the tilt with a 43-29 rebounding disadvantage and a mere seven assists. John Bradenburg was the only Colgate player to reach double figures in scoring in the setback, as he hit all five of his field goal attempts en route to 11 points.
Kris Joseph has been impressive for Syracuse through the first three games of this new campaign, as he is netting 16.7 ppg on the strength of his 52.9 percent shooting from the field. Jam Southerland checks in with 13.7 ppg off the bench, and Dion Waiters is posting 13.0 ppg in a reserve role. The Orange are generating 89.3 ppg on 49.3 percent field goal efficiency while holding opponents to 61.0 ppg on 35 percent shooting. Taking a look at the 24-point victory over Albany last time out, both Joseph and Southerland tallied 19 points, while Baye Keita hit all six of his field goal attempts en route to 14 points. The Orange connected on 52.6 percent of their shots from the floor in that affair and racked up 22 assists against only 12 turnovers. A 47-29 rebounding advantage obviously played a major role in the win as well.
Syracuse will have no trouble disposing of Colgate this evening, as the Orange are clearly the superior team in the matchup. Expect Joseph to lead the way offensively once again.