When the Syracuse Orange men's basketball team entered onto the hardcourt against Pace, they were entering as a new unit, sans guards Scoop Jardine and Dion Waiters, forward Kris Joseph, and center Fab Melo. But the Orange moved forward, coming out with tenacity and a want to make a statement. And they did, with a margin of victory that surpassed 30 points.
In the 1st Half:
Coming out of the gate, head coach Jim Boeheim started guards Brandon Triche and Michael Carter-Williams, forwards C.J. Fair and Rakeem Christmas, and center DaJuan Coleman.
After taking a 2-0 deficit on Pace's first possession of the game, Syracuse never trailed again.
Carter-Williams came out strong, scoring the first five points for the Orange, including an old-fashioned three-point play, connecting on his free throw after making a shot while being hit in the air.
Defensively, Christmas and Coleman both started the game early with a block, showing no signs of missing the shot-blocker that Melo had been for Syracuse.
With rebounding also being a concern, the team, led early by the play of Fair, had no issue getting to the ball. Fair had three consecutive defensive rebounds, the latter resulting in a made three-point shot by Williams, who connected on both of his attempts from beyond the arc in the first half.
Before those rebounds, Fair got on the board offensively with an old-fashioned three-point play followed by a three-point shot. He would then add a lay-up inside to be a perfect three-for-three before being subbed out.
In came forwards Jerami Grant and James Southerland, along with center Baye Moussa Keita, to make their 2012-13 season debut, with the score in favor of the Orange, 16-4. Keita had an effect on the game immediately with a block. Then, Grant got the first block of his career along with Coleman, who both attained those negations on the same possession. Coleman's second block of his career came right after his first, on that very possession.
Up to that point, Triche had been quiet, with a defensive rebound and a turnover. But that relative silence was erased by a steal for a lay-in and an assist to Keita underneath for a wide open dunk.
Triche would follow that assist with three more, on the team's next three possessions. Triche connected with Coleman first, then Southerland for his first points of the game, and back to Coleman, before going inside for a lay-up of his own. One of the lay-ups by Coleman was started by his headsy defensive play, throwing the ball at Pace before going out of bounds. The ball was picked up by Syracuse and given back to Coleman underneath, who fought on both ends to stay with the ball and create opportunities for the Orange in his first appearance in a Syracuse uniform.
With Syracuse pulling away early, everything was working for the Orange, as Keita tipped the ball into the basket, facing away from the rim to put the team up 32-10 on Pace.
Keita would score inside on the next possession, courtesy of Carter-Williams, and then block Pace's attempt at the opposite end, showing his effectiveness of both sides, as opposed to the notion that he is simply a defensive player.
Keita would then take a break, along with Grant, as Fair and Coleman, after coming out for Christmas, returned to the game. At the time, Keita had six points, two blocks, and a defensive rebound to go with one turnover. Grant added two defensive rebounds and a block with a turnover.
Grant would return shortly after, obtaining his first points with Syracuse on a made lay-up and a one-handed dunk over his head. He would add two more defensive rebounds to finish the first half with four points, four rebounds, a block, and a turnover.
Fellow newcomer Coleman would end the first half of his collegiate career with seven points on two lay-ups as well as going three-for-three from the charity stripe, three blocks, and a defensive rebound. The only area where Coleman struggled was with his jump shot, missing both of his attempts.
Tenacity and teamwork put the Orange up 55-29 at the half.
Six Syracuse players scored, with Carter-Williams leading with 12 and Keita a close second with 10.
Eight players on the Orange roster recorded at least one rebound, with Fair leading all with five. Christmas and Keita got involved on both sides, grabbing offensive boards as well.
Defensively, five different Syracuse players had at least one block, while on the offensive side, four players ended the first half with more than one assist. Carter-Williams and Triche each had four, along with Christmas, who recorded four despite being a forward.
In the 2nd Half:
The Orange began the latter half with the same personnel that started the game. Christmas got things going early with a block followed by a tip back to Triche off of Triche's missed three-point attempt that led to Syracuse's first score of the half, when Triche went in for a lay-up.
Triche would score the team's first four points before sending the ball to Fair for an assist.
Christmas continued to impress, with three early blocks and a dunk off of his own offensive rebound, while Coleman grabbed two more boards and Carter-Williams took three possessions away from Pace off of steals. Carter-Williams' third steal led to his trip to the line, where he made both free throws, to put the Orange ahead 65-37.
Fair and Coleman came out around the 15:30 mark to give Southerland and Grant another opportunity. Southerland got going immediately with a steal that brought him to the line, where he made one of two. He would then get free for his first dunk of the game, thanks to a block by Carter-Williams that was rebounded by Triche and given to Carter-Williams who paid it forward to Southerland on a fastbreak assist. Southerland followed by following Grant's miss, obtaining an offensive rebound and another two points off of his made jump shot.
Keita returned to replace Christmas, while Fair spent some time in the backcourt, subbing in for Carter-Williams. Keita stayed strong underneath, gaining two more rebounds offensively, each leading to a basket, sending Syracuse to a 75-47 lead over Pace.
Grant was off on his shooting, but made up for it by creating opportunities for his teammates off of defensive rebounds, such as when Grant began an offensive possession off a rebound that sent Fair to the line.
Fellow forward Southerland went back to the outside, after playing close to the rim, grabbing two offensive rebounds and another three points. He made back-to-back three pointers to extend Syracuse to an 81-54 advantage over Pace.
Christmas would extend the lead even further when attained an offensive rebound, made the second-chance opportunity, and the free throw that followed, upon his return. He would then block the next Pace attempt, leading to a lay-in by Carter-Williams and follow with another offensive rebound which he used to assist Grant to his second dunk of the game, putting the Orange ahead 88-59.
Grant would pay it forward with a defensive rebound off of a block by Southerland that would result in a fastbreak lay-up by Fair. He would then assist Fair after a Southerland rebound, as the three helped to add onto the Orange lead.
Syracuse would stay inside for the remainder of the contest, as they had done for the majority of the game, with Coleman involved for all of the final six points obtained by the Orange. He would assist Christmas on a lay-in, make two free throws, and grab an offensive rebound for a putback, securing the game at 99-63, as Syracuse cleared its bench.
Guards Nolan Hart, Griffin Hoffman, and Russ Deremer, along with forwards Matt Lyde-Cajuste and Albert Nassar would all see time, but none would score. They did, however, get on the boards, with Hoffman grabbing two offensive rebounds to go with Lyde-Cajuste's one and Deremer and Nassar both got ahold of a defensive rebound.
Southerland would score nine points in the second half to go with his seven of the first half to lead the Orange and all scorers with 18 points. Carter-Williams, who was the leader for Syracuse after the first half, would end just shy of Southerland with 16 points, tying Fair. Four starters scored in double figures for the Orange, with Christmas ending with seven points. The other two players to surpass 10 points, Southerland and Keita, came off the bench. Eight players scored of the 13 that played.
Southerland and Keita had the best overall shooting percentage for Syracuse, both making seven of eight. Southerland was best from deep, connecting on three of his four attempts from distance.
Jonathan Merceus led Pace with 15 points, followed closely by David Eismeier who had 14. Four Setters' players ended in double figures. Eight of the Setters' 11 players scored in the game.
Eismeier had the best overall shooting percentage for Pace, going five of eight, and was the top shooter from long range, making four of six.
Christmas was the leading rebounder for Syracuse with nine, followed by newcomer Grant, who had seven. Fellow newcomer Coleman ended the game with six to tie Southerland. Christmas attained the most offensive rebounds for the Orange with five, while Grant was the frontrunner in defensive rebounds, with all seven of his boards coming on the defensive end. Twelve Orange players grabbed a rebound of the 13 that played.
Merceus also led Pace in total rebounds with nine, offensive rebounds with five and defensive rebounds with four, equaling the entire output of Christmas. Seven of Pace's 11 active players recorded a rebound.
Seven Syracuse players had at least one block, with Christmas leading all with five.
Equaling that number, seven players on the Orange also had at least one assist, with Carter-Williams leading all with seven. Fellow guard Triche followed with five, but was matched by an unlikely assist-gainer in Christmas who also had five, from the forward position.
Five Orange players recorded a steal, with Carter-Williams attaining the most with four.