Monday, March 22, 2010
Johnson's 31 and 14 Earn "Day's Best" Honors
A very tough call on which was the most impressive performance in Sunday's second round action as three blue-chippers: DaSean Butler, Evan Turner and Wesley Johnson each led their respective teams to victory.
In the end, Johnson's 31 points and 14 rebounds in SU's 87-65 thrashing of Gonzaga grabs the day's best award, not only because the Orange won in such dominating fashion, but because Johnson's stroke from 3-ball land was so pure early in the game, allowing Syracuse to relax after opening up a big lead. His 4-for-6 shooting from beyond the arc equalled his career best and his 31 points was his highest point total ever. The 14 boards were also important considering the absence of center Arinze Onawaku. Johnson's all-around excellence allowed the rest of the team to fit into the offense effortlessly and thoroughly dismantle the Zags, usually a very disciplined team.
Monday, January 25, 2010
#4 Syracuse Rips #7 Hoyas at Carrier Dome
Big East rivalries don't get any bigger than the one witnessed Monday night by a national television audience (ESPN), as Georgetown headed north from the nation's capitol to take on the Syracuse Orangemen.
At the beginning, everything went Georgetown's way, with the Hoyas building a 14-0 lead. Once Syracuse got on track, however, it was game over, lights out, everybody down. The Orange stormed to a 34-29 lead at the break and opened up by as many as 20, eventually winning in a laugher, 73-56. Too quick and too physical for the Hoyas, Syracuse converted 21 of 28 free throws, compared to just 6 of 11 from the line for Georgetown.
Andy Rautins and Kris Joseph led the Orange attack with 15 points apiece. Joseph added 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals. Rautins dished 6 assists and had 6 steals.
Wesley Johnson had a superb all-around game with 14 points, 9 boards, 2 assists, 3 steals and 4 blocked shots, all while committing not a single personal foul.
Notable: Kansas, seeking their 54th straight home win, held Missouri to 27% shooting in the first half while building a 50-30 lead en route to an easy, 84-65 win. Cole Aldrich had 11 rebounds by half time as all 8 Kansas players who saw floor time scored, led by Marcus Morris with 11 points. Aldrich finished with 16 rebounds, 6 blocks and 12 points and was a key factor in Kansas' fast breaks with deft, deep outlet passes. #3 KU improved to 19-1, and 5-0 and sole possession of first place in the Big 12.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Six-for-Six... Unbeaten Teams Remain Perfect
When the balls hit the various floors across the college basketball spectrum on Tuesday, six teams remained undefeated. By the time the final buzzers sounded, all six - Kansas, Texas, Syracuse, Purdue, Kentucky and West Virginia - still had perfect records.
Most of the games were one-sided affairs, though Syracuse had to sweat out a 80-73 win at Seton Hall, aided by Wesley Johnson's huge effort: 20 points and 19 boards.
West Virginia narrowly escaped at home against Marquette, getting a buzzer-beating 20-foot jumper from Da’Sean Butler for the 63-62 win. The Mountaineers are 11-0.
The most impressive performance by a single player came in the most one-sided game of the evening, Kentucky's 104-61 pounding of Hartford. Freshman sensation John Wall scored just 9 points, but set a school record by dishing out 16 assists. The accomplishment is augmented by remembering the exceptional players who passed the rock over Kentucky's 100 years or so of basketball excellence. Wall's effort was the best ever. Now that's saying something.
NOTABLE: Not only did the top six teams in the rankings win on Monday, but so did #7 Duke, #12 Kansas State, #16 Mississippi, and #21 Clemson. The only Top 25 team to lose was #20 Texas Tech. They took a 90-75 loss at #19 New Mexico.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Upsets Proliferate Across College Hoops Landscape
With college basketball becoming more and more competitive in the early going, the number of upsets - and the term should be used lightly as this early juncture - has increased this season as never before. On Friday, five top 25 teams were dumped by unranked schools, giving credence to the camp which believes pre-season and early rankings are worthless.
The games must be played on the court, and some of these smaller schools have talent popping right out of the hardwood.
The biggest surprise was probably Florida's 77-74 win over #2 Michigan State. Though out-shooting the Gators, the Spartans turned the ball over 24 times, while Florida hit 22-of-25 from the charity stripe for the win.
Here's a quick run-down of the other eye-popping upsets:
Utah 60, #20 Illinois 58
Northwestern 72, #23 Notre Dame 58
Portland 61, #22 Minnesota 56
Marquette 79, #15 Michigan 65
What stands out is that four of the teams upset came out of the Big Ten, so, maybe these aren't really all that surprising after all.
In Syracuse's 85-60 thumping of Columbia (this was a real creampuff opponent), forward Wesley Johnson tallied a season-high 26 points, going 8-for-13 from the field, including 4-of-5 from three-point land. Johnson also hit all 6 of his free throws, grabbed 3 rebounds, dished three assists and had two steals.
The Orangemen are 6-0, and face Colgate and Maine this coming week, prior to a trip South to face the Gators on December 10. That should prove interesting.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Rautins, Johnson Lead Syracuse Past Tar Heels
Watch out for Jim Boehiem's Syracuse Orangemen this season. Ranked preseason as the 6th-best team in the Big East, the Orange took out two ranked opponents en route to capturing the championship in the Coaches Vs. Cancer Classic at madison Square Garden in New York.
After throttling Cal, 95-73, on Thursday, they routed North Carolina, 87-71, Friday night to improve their record to 4-0. (Big East teams were 41-0 before Providence and South Florida lost Friday night to Alabama and South Carolina, respectively.)
Syracuse was led by 6'7" junior forward Wesley Johnson, who sat out all of last season after transferring from Iowa State University. Johnson lit it up for a game-high 25 points, to go with his 8 boards. Johnson was 10-17 from the field, hitting 4-of-8 3-pointers.
The Orangemen had five players in double figures, but senior Andy Rautins was everywhere, scoring 11 points with 3 3-pointers, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and 7 steals.
Syracuse, trailing 39-37 at the half, exploded for a 25-2 run to open the second half and take complete control of the game. North Carolina drew to within 8 points, but never threatened as the Orangemen employed their 2-3 zone to produce 18 Tar Heel turnovers.
NOTABLE: Tennessee's Scotty Hopson tallied 25 points for the second straight game, hitting 10-of-15 shots, including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc, in a 105-66 win over East Carolina. The 3-0 Vols lead the nation in scoring at 104 points per game.