MBB : Last time they played: Syracuse 81, UNC Asheville 63

first_img Comments Published on March 13, 2012 at 12:00 pm Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim had no trouble providing his four freshmen with playing time, but when it mattered most it was his experienced players answered the call.Junior forward Hakim Warrick scored a game-high 18 points and sophomore guard Gerry McNamara added 17 points as No. 17 Syracuse dispatched UNC Asheville 81-63 on Dec. 28, 2003 in the Carrier Dome. The defending national champions improved to 7-1 on the season with the win.Boeheim installed a tight man-to-man defense early in the first half to spark a run. In the first five minutes of the game, SU got two quick steals from junior forward Josh Pace and sophomore guard Billy Edelin to ignite a strong start for Syracuse. During that stretch, McNamara hit a pair of 3-pointers, enabling the Orangemen to jump out to an early 12-2 lead.That allowed Boeheim to give his freshman some reps. The Syracuse coach deployed a rotation of 11 players to put distance on the Bulldogs. UNC Asheville rallied to cut SU’s advantage to 21-16 with 8:07 remaining in the first half, but the Orangemen went on a 13-0 run highlighted by freshman Terrance Roberts’ baseline dunk by to push the lead back to 18.‘We’ve gotten through these first eight games, and everybody’s gotten an opportunity to play a little bit,’ Boeheim said to the Associated Press. ‘I think our veteran guys know what has to be done and are playing at a pretty good level right now. Our young guys will help us in different spots as we go on.’AdvertisementThis is placeholder textA layup by freshman guard Louie McCroskey during that stretch ensured that SU’s lead would never dip below double digits for the rest of the game. And the Orangemen cruised into halftime with a 38-21 lead.After the Bulldogs cut Syracuse’s lead to 62-51 with seven minutes to go in the second half, SU’s stars took over to fuel the Orangemen in the game’s waning moments. McNamara hit his fourth of five 3s and Warrick added a dunk and a layup. Just like that the score was back up to 69-53.The Orange never trailed for the second straight game and extended its winning streak to seven games.Freshman Darryl Watkins hit all four of his field-goal attempts for eight points in a balanced effort for SU, but in the game’s crucial stages it was the veterans that put the game out of reach.‘We need to continue to get the young guys ready to help us, but the veteran guys have played at a pretty high level from the beginning,’ Boeheim said. ‘It’s difficult when we have three or four young guys on the court at the same time. It’s kind of a good experience for them in a way, but they won’t really be out there that much, if at all, the rest of the year.’-Compiled by Andrew Tredinnick, asst. copy editor, [email protected]center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img