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Syracuse and Providence collide in Big East battle

The seventh-ranked Syracuse Orange hit the road for Big East action, as they take on the Providence Friars at the Dunkin' Donuts Center on Wednesday evening.

Jim Boeheim's Orange have just one loss on their record this season, entering this contest at a stellar 14-1. Syracuse has won four straight games, and has opened league play with a pair of victories, including a 55-44 road win at USF on Sunday.

Ed Cooley's Friars have struggled with consistency this season due in part to injuries that have plagued the early stages of the season. The team has really had a tough time of late, coming into this game with a four-game losing streak in tow. The Friars are 0-2 in Big East action, having dropped double-digit decisions to both Louisville (80-62) and most recently, DePaul (83-73).

Syracuse has dominated this series with wins in 46 of the 56 all-time meetings. The Orange are a stellar 22-6 against the Friars in Providence.

It wasn't pretty over the weekend, as Syracuse got off to a slow start and trailed by 10 points, before rallying for a 55-44 win in a defensive battle with the Bulls. Brandon Triche led the way with 20 points. James Southerland was once again highly productive off the bench, pouring in 17 points, while C.J. Fair recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

With an impressive +22.9 scoring margin, Syracuse has been comfortable in both offensive shootouts and defensive slugfests. The team is also enjoying a +9.5 rebounding margin and is forcing 18.7 turnovers per game. Triche leads four players in double-figure scoring at 15.0 ppg. Southerland has been a catalyst off the bench with 13.7 ppg, while shooting 40 percent from behind the arc (32-of-80). Fair (12.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg) gives the team a presence up front. The gameplan however, funnels through point guard Michael Carter-Williams, who nets 11.7 ppg, while pacing the entire nation in assists (9.8 apg).

The Friars aren't putting up gaudy offensive numbers at a modest 69.0 ppg and .430 shooting overall, but the team is starting to get healthy and possesses the ability to light it up. Bryce Cotton has missed a couple of games this year, but still ranks second in the Big East in scoring at 21.3 ppg. Cotton is also one of the conference's top snipers, draining 41.1 percent from 3-point range (39-of-95). Kadeem Batts (16.2 ppg, 7.4 rpg) and LaDontae Henton (15.7 ppg, 8.2 rpg) give the team a couple of solid performers up front. Henton ranks third in the Big East in rebounding. Veteran guard Vincent Council (8.8 ppg) missed most of the season, but he too is back on the floor and leads the team with 5.5 apg.

Providence received 20 points from Cotton and 17 from Batts, but it wasn't enough in a 10-point loss to DePaul last time out. Council added 16 points and six assists, but was guilty of eight of Providence's 23 turnovers.