Syracuse is coming off a disappointing loss, but coach Jim Boeheim knows that his team is hardly the most talented he’s had during his lengthy tenure with the Orange. Syracuse aims to rebound Wednesday when it concludes its non-league schedule against visiting Eastern Michigan.
The Orange fell to St. Bonaventure at home their last time out, dropping a 60-57 overtime decision in which the team only made 18 baskets in 45 minutes and misfired on 16 of its 19 attempts from 3-point range. “It’s hard to win when you shoot 30 percent from the field and 15 percent from the 3-point line, but this team fights as hard as they possibly can,” Boeheim told reporters. Leading scorer Tyus Battle is looking to bounce back from an 11-point effort that featured 3-of-18 shooting from the field and a 1-of-9 performance from behind the arc. Eastern Michigan had won three in a row before falling at Oakland 86-81 in its last contest.
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ABOUT EASTERN MICHIGAN (8-3): The Eagles shot nearly 50 percent from the floor against Oakland but were doomed by 5-of-16 3-point shooting and the inability to get stops on the other end - not to mention Oakland’s clutch 21-of-23 effort from the foul line. The Eagles could use more help from their bench, which totaled four points on 2-of-10 shooting last time out, but on the bright side, Paul Jackson continues to elevate his game after transferring from Eastern Kentucky. The 6-2 junior is averaging a 17 points per contest, recorded a season-high 25 against Oakland and has scored in double figures every game since the season opener.
ABOUT SYRACUSE (10-2): The Orange’s top three players - Battle, freshman forward Oshae Brissett and point guard Frank Howard - shot a combined 12-of-47 against St. Bonaventure. Syracuse shoots only 43 percent from the field overall and sits just south of 30 percent from 3-point range, although Battle (19.9 points) has generally been a bright spot. Howard has turned the ball over at least four times in seven straight games, averaging 5.6 turnovers during that stretch.
1. Brissett has shot below 40 percent from the field in six of his last seven games.
2. Despite the extra session, Syracuse set a season low with 57 points against St. Bonaventure.
3. Eastern Michigan F James Thompson IV averages 17.7 points and 12.4 boards, ranking third in the nation in rebounding.
PREDICTION: Syracuse 77, Eastern Michigan 70