After leading struggling Monmouth by a mere basket at halftime Monday night, Syracuse ultimately came unshackled to win by 15 points and extend its winning streak to four.
“To be honest, (for) some players, it’s hard to get up for these games,” Orange sophomore Benny Williams said. “Monmouth’s (1-10). Players (are) coming into this game thinking we’re just going to go by them, and it’s going to be an easy win. But sometimes, it’s not like that. We’ve got to fight for it.”
If Williams’ rationalization is to be believed, the Orange need not worry about fits of sluggishness Saturday afternoon when Cornell (7-2) visits Syracuse, N.Y.
Although the Orange (7-4) hold a 41-game winning streak against the Big Red, Cornell presents a different challenge — a fast-shooting one that came within a basket of beating Boston College and Miami this season.
The Big Red opened the campaign with a 79-77 loss at Boston College and are coming off a 107-105 loss at Miami on Dec. 7, which extended their current skid against ACC foes to 39 games.
Syracuse will try to slow a Cornell attack that leads the nation with 32.1 3-point attempts per game and is second in the country with 20.9 assists per game. Cornell uses balance and depth, with Greg Dolan (13.9) leading eight players who average at least 7.6 points a game.
Cornell trailed the Hurricanes by 21 points early in the second half and was down by nine with a minute to go.
Miami coach Jim Larranaga said attempting to corral the Big Red and their frenetic offense was akin to “trying to catch a runaway train.”
“They are one of the fastest teams in launching shots,” Larranaga added. “We’re not used to defending a team that can score that well in the open court.”
Showing more offensive urgency of its own also figures to be key for Syracuse. Freshman Judah Mintz scored 17 of his season-high 24 points against Monmouth after intermission to lead five players in double figures. Joseph Girard III scored 16 and Jesse Edwards notched a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds.
–Field Level Media