Jaspers visit Orange in NIT Season Tip-Off action

The fifth-ranked Syracuse Orange will take on Off action from the Carrier Dome.

Manhattan is coming off a season-opening win over NJIT by a 62-48 final on Saturday, but the level of competition spikes considerably tonight. The Jaspers are under the direction of first-year head coach Steve Masiello, who welcomes back 10 letterwinners and four starters from last season's club that finished a lowly 6-25 overall, including 3-15 versus MAAC opponents.

Syracuse won its seventh consecutive season opener on Saturday with a 78-53 victory against Fordham. Four starters are back from last year's 27-8 team that tied for third in the Big East Conference, and the loss of only two letterwinners has expectations sky high. Jim Boeheim has been massively successful during his tenure at Syracuse, and anything less than a Final Four appearance in 2012 would be a disappointment for this group.

The Orange have won their last 10 meetings with the Jaspers and own a 22-6 advantage in the all-time series.

Manhattan didn't play well at the offensive end of the court in the opener against NJIT, as the club shot just 33.3 percent from the field, including a miserable 2-of-20 showing from three-point range. Fortunately for the Jaspers, they were able to knock down 24 free throws, 16 more than the opposition. A total of 21 forced turnovers was key to the win, as was the fact that NJIT was only able to make good on 37.5 percent of its shots from the floor. George Beamon netted 15 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to lead the way in the win for the Jaspers. Roberto Colonette pitched in 11 points and eight rebounds off the bench, while Donovan Kates tallied 10 points. Beamon is coming off a highly impressive 2010-11 campaign that saw him earn All-MAAC Third Team and honors after averaging 16.3 points per contest, which was the third highest scoring average in the league.

Kris Joseph, a member of the preseason All-Big East First Team, was not only the leading scorer for Syracuse with his 14.3 ppg last season, he showed tremendous versatility on both ends of the court. He figures to get plenty of help this season from energetic senior Scoop Jardine, a Philadelphia native who put up some impressive numbers a year ago (12.5 ppg, 55 steals). Brandon Triche netted 11.1 ppg in 2010-11, and he was also on the court for Saturday's opener. In that romp over Fordham, Joseph scored 16 points in 27 minutes of action, while Dion Waiters added 14 points off the bench. The Orange earned a 43-32 rebounding advantage in the affair and forced 19 turnovers. They also limited the overmatched Rams to 34.6 percent shooting from the field, including a 4-of-21 showing from three-point range.