But nobody lost an eye tonight, therefore it was indeed all fun and games.
Credit to Monmouth for coming out strong early and keeping the game close, giving SU a few haymakers of their own to start with. They are quick and looked well-prepared to handle the press (most of the time) and were not afraid to take it to the Orange. That said, if you want to try to run with Syracuse you better bring a jetpack.
The only player to have a bad game in this one was Griffin Hoffmann, who missed a three and a pair of free throws in the final minute. You aren’t going to get a better chance to score than that, Griffo. Everybody else was great. Jerami Grant was the only regular not to reach double-figures in some stat or another. Other than the foul shooting there is nothing criticizable about this game. This is exactly what you want from a mid-December contest, especially the third one of the week. A runaway laugher with lots of scoring for everyone to enjoy, keeping Boeheim on schedule to earn his 900th win at home, before the MSG game against Temple.
I had no idea until looking at the box score that Brandon Triche was the leading scorer. And he had 8 assists. And MCW is becoming drool-worthy. And Rakeem Christmas was a force, as he ought to be against small teams. And DaJuan Coleman had a long stretch of good minutes and looked more comfortable in this game than he has all season. And CJ Fair and James Southerland each had highlight plays but also some plain old workmanlike plays to get their jobs done. And Grant showed that he might be the most athletic guy on the roster, he has a little bit of Hakim Warrick in him. And Keita had ten rebounds and made a hook shot. And Cooney, it appears, has officially found his long-range stroke.
Really it’s hard to say much about this sort of game. But it’s certainly positive that the game went like it did, becoming the third straight blowout win for this squad. There are seasons where SU struggles in some of the early games, even though they still win them… but only by 10-15 points. Not 50. As fans we would have excuses at the ready: “It’s hard to get motivated for these kinds of games.” “They turned it on when they needed to.” “[Opponent] is actually a pretty decent team.” (If you need more examples, go swing over to your favorite Georgetown blog. I’m sure they’ll be saying these sorts of things about their 6-point win this afternoon over Towson where the halftime score was 17-15.) But most of the time, seasons when SU has not blown out their December opponents have been seasons when SU has not been all that good the rest of the year either. So while throttling Monmouth isn’t necessarily a sign of amazing things to come, it’s at least the absence of a sign of bad things to come.
That’s something, right?