In a long college basketball season, winning games are not as easy as they may appear. Syracuse can attest to that fact.
Contrasting what had happened in its first six games (all wins), the no. 8-ranked Orange played a very good first half against Cornell Tuesday night, but struggled late, though it still beat the feisty Big Red in a 78-58 decision.
"I thought in the first half we did a good job moving the basketball," said SU head coach Jim Boeheim. "We did a good job on the boards. We shot the ball well and made good decisions. We just made a couple of bad turnovers."
Of course, Boeheim was far less pleased with what happened after the break.
"In the second half, we thought the game was over," said Boeheim. "Our four best ball-handlers made 16 turnovers. That's not going to get it done. It was very disappointing."
Cornell (2-5) has never defeated SU in 34 tries. And that is an mpressive statistic for Syracuse, even though one must taken into account that it's not the same Big Red squad that reached the Sweet 16 a year ago.
The bright news for Syracuse was that nine players scored, three of them in double digits. SU overcame a high volume of turnovers (20 overall) with balanced scoring. In addition, the Orange shot well in both halves going 27-for-57, nearly 50 percent.
Rick Jackson, who has been consistent all season, posted yet another double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds on seven-for-nine shooting. Jackson took advantage of his size and experience dominating the interior, scoring most of his points underneath the basket.
Kris Joseph did not match his last game (27 points in the Legends Classic final against Georgia Tech in Atlantic City on Nov. 27), but did get 16 points and four rebounds.