Rapid Reaction: Syracuse 69, Stanford 63
November, 25, 2011
By Kieran Darcy | ESPN.com
NEW YORK -- A quick take on Syracuse's 69-63 win over Stanford on Friday evening at Madison Square Garden.
Overview: Syracuse comes from behind for the second time this week here in the Big Apple and wins the NIT Season Tip-Off. Coach Jim Boeheim wanted his No. 5-ranked Orange to be tested after four easy wins to start the season, and they certainly were. But they showed great poise in pulling out both games -- an indication of good things to come.
Stanford, picked to finish sixth in the Pac-12 in the conference's preseason poll, put on a very impressive performance this week, blowing out Oklahoma State and playing Syracuse down to the wire. The Cardinal should exceed expectations this season.
The skinny: Stanford hung right with Syracuse in a first half that scored high in energy but rather low in artistic impression. The Cardinal had 15 -- yes, 15! -- first-half turnovers, while the Orange weren't much better with 12. The lead changed nine times over the first 20 minutes, with neither team leading by more than four. Stanford led 25-24 at intermission.
Both teams came out hot to start the second half, the lead changing hands several times in the first few minutes alone. Finally, Stanford put some distance between the two teams with a 9-2 run, capped by an Aaron Bright 3-pointer with 6:45 remaining to make the score 55-47 Cardinal.
But the Orange weren't done. Kris Joseph took over, scoring nine straight points for his team in one stretch, and his bank shot with 2:53 remaining gave Syracuse the lead again, 61-60. It was a wild finish from there. Freshman guard Chasson Randle hit a big 3-pointer to cut a 64-60 Syracuse lead to 64-63. But then Dion Waiters made his second huge bucket in a row to put Syracuse back up three, and the Orange held off Stanford in the final minute. They ended the game on a 15-3 run.
Under the lights: Five Cuse players were in double-figures, but Joseph and Waiters were the ones who got it done down the stretch for the Orange. Joseph finished with a game-high 18 points and nine rebounds. Waiters had 10 points off the bench. Bright led Stanford with 13 points, and Randle added 12.
Number crunch: When a team commits 24 turnovers, it usually isn't going to win. Stanford almost pulled off that feat Friday night. Instead, Syracuse finished with 21 turnovers and won. Hey, nobody said it was pretty.
What's next: Syracuse returns upstate to host Eastern Michigan on Tuesday night, while Stanford flies cross-country back home and will welcome Pacific to Maples Pavilion on Monday night.