Syracuse knocked off Seton Hall Saturday night 76-65, in a game that wasn’t quite a blowout but also was never out of SU’s control. The #6 Orange was fueled by a record crowd at the Prudential Center (over 13,000), and an embarrassing loss to UConn a game earlier. The Pirates are dreadful (13-13, 2-11) so it wasn’t any great effort that SU had to put forward to win. But Brandon Triche stepped up with a big time performance (29 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assist) on a night where both MCW (3-10, 14 points) and James Southerland (4-12, 11 points) shot poorly.
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That Syracuse beat a bad Hall team is not all that noteworthy. What is, however, is Jim Boeheim’s comments about Tyler Ennis. Zag’s Blog penned a piece on Michael Carter-Williams’ eminent departure for the NBA (most projections still have him as a top 10 pick). Who steps into the vacated point guard slot? You’d hope it was Ennis, who is having a tremendous senior season. But forget Boeheim hoping that Ennis does just that. He’s demanding it.
Can he come in and start next year if Carter-Williams is gone?
“He has to, he has to,” Boeheim said. “He has to.”
There is some speculation that The Per’fesser won’t be around to mesh Ennis into the starting lineup. Would Boeheim retire at the end of this season and walk away in the final year of the Big East?
Possibly. The idea that any of us know what Boeheim’s thinking, even after three decades on the sideline, is naive. Boeheim has always played things close to the vest. He’s a poker player, only calling your bluff when he needs it to win. Otherwise, he’s holding his cards and watching everyone else.
But rarely have we heard JB put those types of expectations on an incoming freshman. In fact, first-year players are often scorned by Boeheim. Both Dion Waiters and Carter-Williams were driven to contemplate transferring because of limited minutes, and incessant pressure to improve by Boeheim.
Instead, JB is imploring that Ennis must step into MCW’s shoes, with the obvious suggestion he can’t just play, he must succeed there as well.
Earlier this week, Ennis was left off the McDonald’s All-American team and responded in impressive fashion. He dropped 53 points for St. Benedict’s in a 116-65 rout of Eastern on Wednesday.
His coach Mark Taylor told SNY.tv:
“We were pissed, our team was pissed. Tyler was upset. Our team said, ‘Listen, Tyler, go off tonight. We are giving you the ball and go show everyone you can do this for everyone tonight. You’re the type of player who is all about the team.’ Our team was all about Tyler tonight.”
Ah, the modern virtues of high school and AAU ball. No matter, Ennis is a spectacular talent. His 53 came on 24 points in the first half and 25 in the third quarter. He made five 3-pointers and went 13-of-16 from the line. He is considered one of the top incoming freshman in the country.
So when Boeheim issues the challenge, it’s noteworthy. MCW has a few more weeks on the Hill left. After that, it’s Tyler’s world.