James Southerland scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half as fourth-ranked Syracuse moved one step closer to achieving another major milestone for Jim Boeheim with Saturday's 85-61 win over Canisius at the Carrier Dome.
Brandon Triche added 19 points for the unbeaten Orange (9-0) and Michael Carter-Williams tallied 12 points and 14 assists in the victory, the 899th of Boeheim's career. The longtime head coach will attempt to join Mike Krzyzewski and Bob Knight as the only men to reach the 900-win mark when Syracuse hosts Detroit on Monday.
The Orange also extended their non-conference winning streak to 51 straight regular-season contests by shooting a torrid 57.1 percent (8-of-14) from 3- point range and 54.8 percent overall. Southerland made 9-of-14 attempts from the field and 3-of-6 from beyond the arc, with Triche making 2-of-3 tries from long distance as part of a 7-of-11 night.
"I thought our guards controlled the game getting in the lane making plays," said Boeheim. "I thought that was the difference, and our defense was good overall."
Billy Baron and Isaac Sosa each netted 15 points for Canisius (6-2), which entered the Carrier Dome off to its best 7-game start since 1973-74 and riding a string of three consecutive wins.
The Griffins hung tough during a tightly contested first half in which Syracuse held a slim 35-32 edge, but the Orange dominated their overmatched foe after the break to keep their perfect mark intact.
Southerland registered five points to spark a 10-1 Orange run to begin the period, and the margin swelled to 15 shortly afterward when Triche buried a triple to put Syracuse up 50-35 just over five minutes into the second half.
Canisius would get to within 12 points on three occasions, the last coming when Sosa knocked down a long-range bucket with 4:17 to go that trimmed the Griffins' deficit to 69-57. Syracuse responded with a 9-0 spurt in which Carter-Williams assisted on all four baskets, however, to put the contest out of reach.
"We were able to close out better in the second half, unlike the first, and our wings played a little bit better too because a lot of times (Canisius) would bring guys to the corners and we were able to bump the wings down," said Triche. "As a whole I think me and Michael did a lot better. We gave up the middle more, but it helped on our end."
The Orange built a 23-14 advantage just past the midway mark of the first half on the strength of an 8-0 stretch, and the lead was seven with under six minutes left until intermission before Canisius ripped off nine consecutive points to forge ahead.
Josiah Heath's 3-point play with 2:23 remaining in the half sent the Griffins briefly in front by a 32-30 count, but Triche's driving layup just prior to the buzzer ended a 5-0 burst that placed Syracuse back on top at the break.
The game was the first for both teams in this year's Gotham Classic, a round- robin event between five programs that will take place through Dec. 30. Temple, Alcorn State and Detroit are also participating ... Syracuse has now won 29 consecutive home games and has bested Canisius 21 straight times, with the Griffins' last triumph in the series coming on Feb. 15, 1975 ... The Orange prevailed despite making just 50 percent (9-of-18) of their free throws on the evening ... Carter-Williams dished out a career-high 16 assists in Syracuse's 108-56 win over Monmouth last Saturday.