Campus Coverage: Syracuse shuts down Western Michigan

Syracuse v Western Michigan
Syracuse v Western Michigan

By: Jack Rose

Finally, Syracuse put together a complete game.

After a month and a half of unstable play, the entirety of the Orange came together in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament for a 77-53 win over the 14-seed Western Michigan Broncos. Four players scored in double figures for the Orange, led by Trevor Cooney's 18 on 5-10 shooting, 4-8 from three.

Cooney had been in a shooting slump for much of the last two months, but yesterday's game made it look like the slump is a thing of the past. The team tends to go as Cooney goes, so a strong tournament from him could coincide with a deep run by the Orange.

The game was never really in doubt from the opening minutes, when Syracuse jumped out to a quick 17-4 lead on the strength of two Cooney threes and strong play from Tyler Ennis, who ended with 16 points and 6 assists. Cooney, Ennis, and Jerami Grant continued to lead the Orange throughout the first half, ending with a 19-point halftime lead.

The second half was much of the same except the Orange let up just a little bit with their comfortable lead. C.J. Fair looked for his shot more in the second en route to 14 points combined with a game-high 11 rebounds. Additionally, Grant put in highlight after highlight of dunks, spins, and blocks. The Orange were so far ahead deep in the second half that Jim Boeheim even played the end of his bench; players like Ron Patterson, B.J. Johnson, and even fan favorite Nolan Hart made it into the game. Patterson scored 6 points.

Campus morale was way up after the game, as the team finally proved that it could play like the once-undefeated team of ancient January. It was a full game played by each player, and the whole team looked back in form, including Grant, who had been struggling with a back injury. The high-flying dunks should put any of his lingering injury concerns to rest.

The 'Cuse will take on the 11-seed Dayton Flyers, who upset Ohio State, on Saturday at 7:10 p.m. EST. This is another game the Orange should win without issue, and if they play like they did on Thursday, they will.