Jim Boeheim takes aim at a milestone victory, as his Syracuse Orange put their unblemished record on the line on Monday against the streaking Detroit Titans as part of the Gotham Classic at the Carrier Dome.
Boeheim picked up his 899th career victory this past weekend, as Syracuse moved to 9-0 with an 85-61 win over Canisius. The victory over the Golden Griffins also extended the nation's longest current homecourt winning streak to 29 games. Boeheim will reach the 900-win plateau with the team's next victory and become just the third coach in NCAA history to reach that mark at the Division I level, joining Bobby Knight and Mike Krzyzewski.
Ray McCallum would like nothing better than delaying what seems to be the inevitable, as his Detroit Titans enter this contest with a full head of steam. The Titans have won four straight games following an 80-73 victory over Akron on Saturday. All of Detroit's wins have come at home (6), as the team is still in search of its first road win of the season.
Syracuse owns a 4-1 advantage in the all-time series with Detroit. The Titans won the first-ever meeting during the 1961-62 season, with the Orange claiming victory in the last four, including a 66-55 decision in the last matchup in the 2010-11 campaign.
It didn't look good late in the second half, but Detroit was able to go on a 20-7 run down the stretch to turn a 66-60 deficit into an 80-73 win over Akron at Calihan Hall on Saturday, extending Detroit's current home win streak to 14 games. All-American candidate Ray McCallum led the way offensively with a game-high 21 points. Three other Titans joined him in double figures, as Jason Calliste poured in 17 points, followed by Juwan Howard Jr. and Nick Minnerath, with 15 and 13 points, respectively.
The Titans may still be searching for a road win, but it isn't due to a lack of scoring. Detroit comes into this contest averaging a solid 77.7 ppg. The team has a number of weapons with four of the five starters averaging double figures, but it is McCallum that is the catalyst, leading the team in both scoring (19.4 ppg) and assists (4.9 apg). Caliste is next in the scoring column (13.2 ppg), while Minnerath (11.7 ppg) and Doug Anderson (10.5 ppg) round out the top threats. Howard (9.8 ppg) is close to joining the group.
A close contest in the first half turned into a lopsided win for the Orange, as Syracuse outscored Canisius by 21 points in the second half to cruise to victory. James Southerland led the way with 21 points off the bench. Brandon Triche was a close second, pouring in 19 points. Michael Carter-Williams recorded a double-double with 12 points and 14 assists, while Rakeem Christmas added 10 points to the cause.
Syracuse certainly has the offensive firepower to contend with any team in the nation. The Orange are ranked in the top-five nationally in scoring (84.7 ppg) and in scoring margin (+28.0), while ranking in the top-20 in scoring defense (56.7 ppg). Triche and Southerland are a potent one-two punch, averaging 15.3 and 15.2 ppg, respectively. However, it is the versatility of Carter-Williams that is the real driving force for Syracuse. Carter-Williams has the ability to do everything, averaging 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and an eye-popping 10.8 assists per game, which leads the nation. C.J. Fair rounds out the double- digit scorers on the roster with 11.7 ppg.