Morgan State (4-4) at (5) Syracuse (11-0)
Monday, December 20th, 7:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Pat Taggart, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Carrier Dome (33,000) -- Syracuse, New York.
Television: Big East Network. Home Record: Morgan State 2-1, Syracuse 8-0.
Away Record: Morgan State 1-2, Syracuse 0-0. Neutral Record: Morgan State
1-1, Syracuse 3-0. Conference Record: Morgan State 1-0, Syracuse 0-0. Series
Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The fifth-ranked Syracuse Orange and the mediocre Morgan State Bears will collide in non-conference action this evening from the Carrier Dome.
The defending champs of the MEAC, the Bears own a 4-4 record through the first eight games of this season. They have won their last two games, including a 75-62 victory over UMBC on Saturday. Morgan State is led by Todd Bozeman, former head coach at Cal, who is now in his fifth season with these Bears.
As for Syracuse, it is led by a legend in the coaching profession, Jim Boeheim, who has posted 840 wins and counting in his 35 years as a head coach. His Orange are a perfect 11-0 for the second straight season and for the 10th time during his long and successful tenure. Saturday's matchup with Iona proved to be much closer than expected, but the Orange managed to escape with an 83-77 triumph.
This contest marks the first-ever meeting between Morgan State and Syracuse on the hardwood.
Coach Bozeman depends heavily on the duo of DeWayne Jackson and Kevin
Thompson to be productive every time out at the offensive end of the court for Morgan State. Jackson, a sophomore forward, is netting 15.4 ppg. As for Thompson, a junior forward, he provides 14.0 ppg and 9.4 rpg. Aric Brooks is close to joining the double-digit scoring ranks, as he is contributing 9.6 ppg. Taking a look at the 13-point win over UMBC last time out, Morgan State shot 60 percent from the floor in the first half and led by 13 points at intermission. Over the final 20 minutes, the Bears were able to hold off the opposition by shooting 8-of-13 from the field and 18-of-26 from the foul line. Jackson scored 15 points in that affair, while Thompson and Brooks both scored 14 points.
The trio of Kris Joseph, Rick Jackson and Scoop Jardine have provided consistent offense for Syracuse. Joseph is tops with 13.8 ppg, while Jackson checks in with 13.5 ppg and 12.1 rpg. A 57.7 percent shooter from the field, Jackson has blocked 19 shots as well, tops on the roster. As for Jardine, he provides 13.0 ppg despite his 38.5 percent shooting from the field. Much more than just a scorer, Jardine leads the club with 68 assists and 23 steals. Joseph led a balanced attack with 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field in the closer-than-expected victory over Iona last time out. Brandon Triche added 14 points and seven assists, while Dion Waiters tallied 12 points off the bench. The Orange shot 59.3 percent from the field and finished with 20 assists against 10 turnovers.
Clearly, Syracuse did not play its best game against Iona, and the Orange will be more dominant tonight. There is no reason to believe that the Bears will be able to keep things close.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Syracuse 84, Morgan State 61
12/20 10:38:10 ET