No. 4 Syracuse turns focus to Eastern Michigan

The fourth-ranked Syracuse Orange continue to conference bout.

Eastern Michigan is off to a solid start, having won four of its first six games. The Eagles did, however, have a three-game win streak halted on Sunday with a 72-40 beating at the hands of the Michigan State Spartans. League play will be begin on January 7 for EMU, a member of the Mid-American Conference.

Syracuse fired Bernie Fine on Sunday in the wake of two more accusations of sexual abuse against the longtime assistant men's basketball coach. There is no question that the controversy has affected the players in some way, yet they are 6-0 to date. Last Friday, the club knocked off Stanford by a 69-63 final in the title game of the NIT Season Tip-Off, and that triumph was preceded by a victory over Virginia Tech in the semifinal round.

Eastern Michigan won its only previous meeting with Syracuse by a 68-65 final back in 1996.

The only player to reach double figures in scoring for Eastern Michigan in the 32-point loss to Michigan State was J.R. Sims, as he finished with 14 points despite missing all six of his three-point attempts. The Eagles connected on a mere 28.6 percent of their field goal attempts in that affair, including a 3- of-22 showing from three-point range. Even free-throw shooting proved problematic for EMU, as the club misfired on eight of its 13 attempts from the charity stripe. Through six games, the only player for the Eagles averaging double figures in scoring is Darrell Lampley, as he is netting 13.0 ppg to go along with 3.3 apg. His team is posting only 57.8 ppg while allowing 58.8 ppg to opponents.

Five players reached double figures in scoring for Syracuse in the six-point victory over a previously unbeaten Stanford squad at Madison Square Garden last time out. Kris Joseph led the way with 18 points and nine rebounds to go along with four steals, and Scoop Jardine posted 14 points. Brandon Triche contributed 11 points, while Dion Waiters and C.J. Fair tallied 10 points each. The Orange turned the ball over a total of 21 times in the affair, but they did manage to force 24 giveaways. Joseph is scoring 15.3 ppg though six outings, and he is pulling down 6.0 rpg as well. Waiters adds 12.7 ppg off the bench, and Triche provides 10.8 ppg. Syracuse is netting 83.0 ppg while holding opponents to 58.5 ppg on 37.3 percent shooting from the floor. The Orange are also outrebounding foes by 6.6 rpg.