SYRACUSE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Syracuse guards Brandon Triche and Michael Carter-Williams are imposing in more ways than one. Wagner found that out in a hurry.
The Orange can dominate opponents in many ways and the Seahawks found out the hard way.
Triche had 21 points and seven rebounds, Carter-Williams added six points, six rebounds, three steals and a career-high 11 assists, and the No. 8 Orange beat the Seahawks 88-57 Sunday.
“I’m just playing basketball. That’s ultimately what it is,” Triche, a reluctant star, said. “Being a senior, being one of the leaders, I’m just trying to help the team the best I can.”
Ditto for his backcourt mate.
“I was just trying to get my players involved,” said Carter-Williams, who had only three turnovers. “That’s my role on the team, to get everyone involved, get everyone open shots. That’s when our team is the best. When all those people (teammates) are in the groove, we’re going to win that way. My points are going to come.”
After a pedestrian first half, Syracuse (2-0) had a blistering second, shooting 67.9 percent (19 of 28) to pull away as coach Jim Boeheim gave nine players 13 minutes or more of floor time. Wagner committed 23 turnovers that the Orange converted into 29 points and was outscored 18-6 on the fast break.
“You turn the ball over 23 times against those guys, it’s curtains,” said Wagner coach Bashir Mason, in his first year with the Seahawks. “Those guys are extremely good at getting out and running. We didn’t make shots from the perimeter when we had them. Our guys made mistakes that were costly.”
Wagner (0-2) was outrebounded 49-36, though the Seahawks held their own on the offensive glass (Syracuse held a 15-13 edge), went 5 for 17 from behind the arc, and missed 10 free throws.
The frustration mounted for the Seahawks when 6-foot-11 Baye Moussa Keita entered the game in the second half for the Orange. After playing just 3 minutes and not scoring in the opening half, Keita went 6-for-6 and scored a career-high 15 points in just 10 minutes of action in the second.
“Baye’s been doing a good job down there, especially in practice,” said James Southerland, who had 15 points and three blocks off the bench. “He did a great job today of getting to the open spots near the basket.”
Trevor Cooney had eight points and five steals for Syracuse, while Rakeem Christmas had eight points and seven boards.
Jonathon Williams led Wagner with 14 points and nine rebounds and Kenneth Ortiz had 11 points.
Syracuse has won 23 straight home games and 34 in a row in the Carrier Dome against nonconference foes. The Orange opened its season on the road a week ago with a 62-49 win over then-No. 20 San Diego State on the flight deck of the former aircraft carrier USS Midway.
Last year, the Seahawks beat 15th-ranked Pitt 59-54 on the Panthers’ tough home court at the Peterson Events Center. It was one of 12 road victories for Wagner, which led the NCAA.
No such luck on Sunday.
Wagner, which opened the season with a 73-69 overtime loss at Delaware State on Wednesday, missed its first five shots and trailed 9-3 after Triche’s tip just over 5 minutes in. And after a layup by Williams tied it at 18-all midway through the half, the Orange’s 2-3 zone clamped down.
Syracuse outscored Wagner 18-5 to close the half, holding the Seahawks to one basket over the final 8:26 to gain a 36-23 lead.
The Orange used their superior size to create all sorts of problems. Wagner was 8 of 32 shooting (25 percent), missing several layups. It committed 13 turnovers and was called for 13 fouls to just five for Syracuse in the half.
Syracuse wasn’t much better from the floor, shooting 13 of 36 (36.1 percent) and hitting just 1 of 10 from beyond the arc, but began to pull away by getting in close and getting to the free-throw line when the shots didn’t fall.
After Marcus Burton made one of three free throws to give Wagner its only lead at 19-18, Syracuse began to take control.
A layup by Jerami Grant, a tip by Cooney, and two baskets by Triche, one a fast-break dunk off a pass from Carter-Williams, gave the Orange a 26-21 lead with 6:32 left.
Dajuan Coleman followed with a turnaround jumper in the lane, and Southerland drove the lane and converted a floater to keep the rally going.
C.J. Fair began the second half with a 3 from the left corner, Triche converted a layup and a pair of free throws, and Carter-Williams’ three-point play off a steal and dunk boosted the lead to 40-20 in the first 3 minutes.
A flurry of nine points by Keita in a four-minute span upped the lead to 75-52 and consecutive slams by Triche and Grant made it 84-54 with just over 3 minutes left.
“Overall, I think we’re doing a good job on defense, getting around screens, keeping people outside and making them shoot from the perimeter,” Boeheim said. “Offensively, we were a little in and out. We had some good opportunities in the first half, some really good looks, and didn’t make them. In the second half we did. It’s a lot easier when those jump shots go in. You look a lot better. It was a good win.”
How long can the Orange stay undefeated? Sound off below…
(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)