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New No. 1? No. 3 Syracuse cruises past GW, 85-50
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - Jim Boeheim looks and sounds about as weary as a person can be with all that’s been going on around his Syracuse program. But at least the Hall of Fame coach has something to sleep on this weekend.
His Orange are poised to be No. 1 come Monday.
“It’s nice. These kids have worked hard,” Boeheim said after No. 3 Syracuse cruised past George Washington, 85-50, on Saturday night. “Whatever happens, happens. We just have to be ready to play next week.”
In the midst of a federal investigation, unbeaten and unbowed Syracuse is a cinch to move to the top spot after a good day where things just seemed to fall into place for the Orange (10-0). After all, top-ranked Kentucky lost to Indiana, 73-72, and No. 2 Ohio State lost to No. 13 Kansas, 78-67.
“We know we’ll have a bull’s-eye on our back. It’s going to be tough,” fifth-year senior guard Scoop Jardine said as he anticipated the Orange’s first true road game of the season at North Carolina State Dec. 17. “The biggest thing about us is getting better.
“We aren’t even looking at being No. 1.”
Dion Waiters had 19 points and six steals, both career highs, to lead Syracuse, while Kris Joseph had nine points and eight rebounds. Jardine, Brandon Triche, Fab Melo, and C.J. Fair each scored eight, and freshman guard Michael Carter-Williams had five points, one block, and a season-high eight assists with no turnovers in 18 minutes.
It was the seventh time this season that Waiters reached double figures in his key role coming off the bench.
“Being able to go out there and play aggressive, play physically, that’s what I just try to do,” said Waiters, third on the team in scoring at 11.9 per game and tops with 25 steals. “It’d be great (to be No. 1), but now we know the task will be harder.
“A lot of teams are going to come after us even harder.”
It was the fourth game for Syracuse since associate head coach Bernie Fine was fired after allegations by three men that he sexually molested them as minors. Two were former Orange ballboys. Fine has maintained his innocence and no charges have been filed. The investigation is expected to last several more weeks.
So far, the Orange have been just that.
Having displayed great anticipation on defense, Syracuse entered the game ranked first in the nation in steals, averaging 12.5 a game, and second in turnover margin at plus-8.2, trailing only Ohio State. The Colonials found out why at the outset as they struggled to find any openings. Syracuse forced 18 turnovers that led to 34 points and held George Washington to 16.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
By David Keene
Conference showed that the values Reagan cherished still endure
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