St. Francis-NY (3-5) at (7) Syracuse (9-0)
Sunday, December 13th, 1:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Pat Taggart, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Carrier Dome (33,633) -- Syracuse, New York. Television: Time Warner. Home Record: St. Francis-NY 2-3, Syracuse 6-0. Away Record: St. Francis-NY 1-2, Syracuse 0-0. Neutral Record: St. Francis-NY 0-0, Syracuse 3-0. Conference Record: St. Francis-NY 1-1, Syracuse 0-0. Series Record: Syracuse leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: The seventh-ranked Syracuse Orange and the St. Francis-NY Terriers will meet at the Carrier Dome this afternoon in what certainly appears to be a lopsided non-conference matchup.
St. Francis opened the season with four consecutive losses, but the club has certainly turned things around. The last two outings and three of the last four have resulted in victory, including a thrilling 63-60 decision over Hartford on Tuesday.
As for Syracuse, it has won its first nine games to begin the season, and there have been some truly impressive victories along the way. One occurred on Thursday, as the team knocked off Florida in Tampa by an 85-73 final. The Orange have also beat defending national champ North Carolina, and it would be surprising if the club isn't 12-0 when it opens Big East Conference play on December 29th against Seton Hall.
Syracuse has won its only two previous meetings with St. Francis, including an 83-51 decision over the Terriers during the 2006-07 season.
Ricky Cadell was the hero for St. Francis in the victory over Hartford on Tuesday, as his three-pointer with four seconds remaining lifted the Terriers to victory. Cadell finished with 19 points in that clash, and Akeem Bennett added 15 points and nine rebounds. Meanwhile, Stefan Perunicic and Kayode Ayeni checked in with 10 points. A major reason that St. Francis was able to finish on top was that it committed a mere 10 turnovers, seven fewer than Hartford. Overall this season, Cadell is tops for the club with 15.8 ppg, although his 37.2 percent shooting from the field certainly needs to improve. Bennett adds 14.1 ppg on 39 percent efficiency, and Ayeni rounds out a trio of double-digit scorers with 13.8 ppg. The club is only generating 59.4 ppg while allowing 67.2 ppg to opponents.
Wes Johnson of Syracuse has been one of college basketball's most pleasant surprises this season. Johnson has truly elevated his game, and he is currently averaging 17.0 ppg on 59 percent shooting from the field to go along with 7.6 rpg and 18 blocked shots. He also has 19 steals and 23 assists, proof of his tremendous all-around ability. Arinze Onuaku is posting 11.6 ppg, and Brandon Triche checks in with 10.9 ppg. The fourth and final double-digit scorer in the fold is Andy Rautins with his 10.6 ppg, and he has handed out 49 assists to complement 30 steals. Syracuse is scoring 89.8 ppg on 55.3 percent shooting as a team, impressive stats to say the least. Meanwhile, the club has been able to hold opponents to 62.9 ppg on 36.4 percent field goal efficiency. Rick Jackson scored a career-high 21 points and ripped down 11 rebounds to pace the Orange in the recent win over Florida. Johnson added 17 points and 10 rebounds, as Syracuse was extremely efficient at the offensive end. The team finished with an 18-7 edge in points from the foul line and enjoyed a 43-31 rebounding advantage as well.
Simply put, there is no reason to expect anything other than an easy win for the Orange.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Syracuse 96, St. Francis-NY 64
12/13 10:38:49 ET