The 30,046 fans that filled the Carrier Dome this afternoon would probably agree it felt like the Big East had resurrected for two and a half hours. SU and Pitt reunited inside the Loud House, this time as members of the ACC, and the undefeated Orange remained unbeaten with a 59-54 win over the Panthers.
Tyler Ennis continues to impress and open eyes nationwide. The young freshman title can absolutely go away after Ennis’s performance this afternoon. Ennis led all Syracuse scorers with 16 points and had two huge layups in the final minute to seal the game . The calm and collected body of work he carries is truly admirable. C.J. Fair joked with the stud point guard after the game, telling Ennis he “isn’t a freshman.” Syracuse fans can only keep watching freshman stardom before their eyes.
Boeheim praises Ennis big-time. SU’s head coach has been high on Ennis since he was a young kid in high school. Prior to Michael Carter-Williams’ decision to declare for the NBA Draft, Boeheim said several times the Orange needed Ennis regardless of MCW. Tonight, Coach Boeheim reaped praise on Ennis:
“Tyler made some of the best plays I’ve seen in a long time. He won the game for us down the stretch. He’s a mature player. We try to run an open offense. He just has a knack for getting there.”
Quietly, Rakeem Christmas is coming into himself as a threat down low. Christmas has received tons of criticism once fans realized he wasn’t playing like the McDonald’s All-American that he had been coming out of high school. He’s been mediocre over the course of two and a half years up On the Hill. But today, Christmas was very active offensively. He finished 4-of-4 from the field with 10 points. His shooting percentage, amazingly, is in the low 80s, percent-wise. That’s insane. Defensively, he’s also been a force sporadically on the floor. Tonight, Christmas added four rebounds, three blocks and two steals.
Yes, a win’s a win, but SU’s defensive and offensive rebounding has to get better. Boeheim lavished praise but couldn’t help mentioning the horror story on the glass. Thankfully for Syracuse, Pittsburgh missed a ton of free throws (13-of-23), which hurt the Panthers in the long run. But failing to rebound off of missed free throws is inexcusable. This has to get better, and hopefully DaJuan Coleman will help out when he returns.
Up next for the Orange is a road trip down to South Beach in a rematch with Miami. Remember, the Hurricanes gave SU a tough one in the Dome back on January 4, which was the team’s first ever game as a member of the ACC.
Posted by: Brendan Glasheen