No. 4 Syracuse beats Eastern Michigan 84-48

No. 4 Syracuse beats Eastern Michigan 84-48
December 3, 2012, 9:16 pm
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Syracuse's Michael Carte-Williams, left, and James Southerland pressure Eastern Michigan's J.R. Sims during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Syracuse, N.Y., Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Kevin Rivoli)

(APWF)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) Michael Carter-Williams had 11 points and 11 assists, freshman Jerami Grant had a season-high 11 points and two blocks, and No. 4 Syracuse beat Eastern Michigan 84-48 on Monday night.

Syracuse (6-0) has won 48 straight nonconference games and boosted its home winning streak to 26 games.

Eastern Michigan (5-2) and the Orange had met just twice before, the last time also an 84-48 Syracuse victory a year ago in the Carrier Dome. EMU coach Rob Murphy spent seven seasons as an assistant coach under Jim Boeheim at Syracuse before taking the job with the Eagles two years ago.

Carter-Williams, who led the nation in assists at 9.2 per game, had an erratic first half and finished with six of Syracuse's 18 turnovers. Eastern Michigan had 24 turnovers and was outscored 31-9 on the miscues.

Freshman Dajuan Coleman had a season-high 14 points and Brandon Triche finished with 12 for the Orange. James Southerland, who had a career-high 35 points and matched a school record with nine 3-pointers in Friday night's win at Arkansas, finished with four points.

Trevor Cooney, mired in an awful slump - he was 0 for 11 in the three previous games - missed his first five from beyond the arc against the Eagles before finally making one with 8:09 left. Still, he finished with a season-high 11 points.

Derek Thompson led Eastern Michigan with 18 points and Glenn Bryant had 16. Da'Shonte Riley, a 7-foot center who transferred from Syracuse to EMU after spending two seasons with the Orange, had a not-so-memorable homecoming in a game he was anticipating, finishing with three points on 1-of-8 shooting but collecting six blocks, one off his career high.

Defensively, the Eagles were holding opponents to 36.3 percent shooting, tied for 27th in the country, and the Orange had trouble coping at the outset.

Syracuse missed 10 of its first 12 shots, including three lobs, and committed five turnovers in the opening minutes. Fortunately for the Orange, the Eagles weren't much better, going 4 of 11 and losing the ball five times.

But after Bryant hit two free throws to give Eastern Michigan a 10-3 lead at 14:59, the Orange responded with a 13-2 spurt to gain its first lead and begin to take control.

C.J. Fair scored two straight baskets to start the rally and Southerland finished it with a one-handed baseline runner and a pullup jumper from the wing.

Thompson's layup at 7:04 was Eastern Michigan's final basket of the first half as Syracuse closed the period with a 19-3 run that erased any thoughts of an upset.

The Eagles had 17 turnovers that led to 18 points for the Orange and were 6 of 22 (27.3 percent) shooting in the first half, missing all six 3-pointers they attempted. Syracuse hit 9 of its final 19 shots to take a 35-17 halftime lead despite 1-for-10 shooting from beyond the arc.

A 3-pointer from the top of the key by Thompson cut the imposing lead to 37-20 in the first minute of the second half. That was the closest the Eagles came the rest of the game.

Syracuse entered the game averaging 80.2 points per game and was the epitome of consistency scoring inside in the first five games - the Orange registered 44, 44, 42, 42, and 40 points in the paint - and finished with a 48-22 edge there against EMU.