Syracuse defense bounces back to guide Orange to 17-point win over Cornell

first_img Published on December 31, 2014 at 8:10 pm Contact Sam: [email protected] | @SamBlum3 Bill Courtney turned around and started walking to the locker room before the first-half buzzer even stopped sounding.The Cornell head coach had just watched guard Galal Cancer sustain a lot of contact on the final play of the half, and his missed shot was just another in a half that featured 20 Big Red misfires on 25 attempts.“Our defense got to their shooters,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said. “They’re a good shooting team, we just didn’t let them get comfortable.”Just one game removed from what Boeheim called one of the season’s worst defensive performances, the Orange (9-4) held Cornell (6-7) to 34.5 percent shooting in a 61-44 New Year’s Eve rout in the Carrier Dome on Wednesday in front of 19,288.Syracuse finishes the nonconference season allowing its fourth-lowest scoring output of the season and rides a three-game winning streak into conference play.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“You just try and get in transition and that’s when you really focus on your defense,” SU point guard Kaleb Jospeh said. “Hope you get easy baskets going in the fast break. That’s what you do to get things flowing a little bit.”The Orange zone hounded the Big Red around the perimeter all night. Cornell played deep into its own shot clock, sequences that often ended in long and hotly contested 3-point attempts.When JoJo Fallas made the first Cornell basket in eight attempts with seven minutes gone by, it made the score just 6-2.With eight minutes left in the first half and SU up 10-2, Cornell’s Shonn Miller attempted a pass in the corner that Trevor Cooney intercepted before flying down for an uncontested dunk as Miller ran up the court with his head in his arms. Two minutes later, with the score at 12-2, Robert Hatter forced up an awry 3-point attempt as he fell to the ground and the shot clock expired.But the Orange let Cornell stick around in the game to start. The Orange didn’t score until nearly four minutes into the game when Rakeem Christmas finished his spin move with a right-handed floater in the paint.“It’s going to happen,” Cooney said. “You’re not going to make every shot you take. You’ve got to continue to battle and when you’re going to shoot like you did the other day, you’ve got to come down and get stops. And that’s what we did.”But Syracuse’s scoring woes were masked by those of Cornell’s, and were eventually spelled. Cooney nailed a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer off a screen with just seconds left in the first half. And a thunderous Chris McCullough dunk followed by another Cooney 3 started off the second half as SU extended its lead to 28-13.By the time The Big Red started making shots —it had a 7-0 run over a 97-second span midway through the second half — it was too late. Syracuse still led by 16, and would eventually stretch that lead to 21 as the Orange closed out 2014 in style.“We finished very well playing the last few games,” Boeheim said. “…We’ve come through this about as well as we could expect at this stage in the year. We’re playing much, much better.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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