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December 22, 2012
Orange take on Owls
Jim Boeheim recently reached a rare milestone, but he's now focused on seeing some improvement from Syracuse.
The third-ranked Orange look to re-establish their stingy defensive play and make things a bit easier on themselves Saturday against Temple at Madison Square Garden.
Syracuse (10-0) is enjoying another lengthy winning streak to start a season, and the run continued with Monday's 72-68 win over Detroit, which put Boeheim in elite company.
The longtime coach of his alma mater has 900 wins, joining Duke's Mike Krzyzewski (938) and Bob Knight (902) as the only other men's Division I coaches to reach that mark. If the Orange's superb start continues against Temple, Boeheim would get his first attempt to tie Knight next Saturday against Alcorn State.
Boeheim wants to see his team play better this weekend after Syracuse committed 18 turnovers versus Detroit - 11 while being outscored 47-32 in the second half. The Orange also allowed a season-high 46.7 percent shooting after limiting their first nine opponents to 33.1 percent from the field.
"Their zone is really very difficult to score against," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. "They're long. They get in great position. They know what they're doing. They're very good on offense, as well. They bring a kid like (James) Southerland off the bench."
Southerland has totaled 43 points while making 16 of 26 from the floor over the past two games. The senior forward's average of 15.9 points leads the Orange and more than doubles his previous career high.
"James is a great player," guard Michael Carter-Williams said. "He's a great asset to this team and we're going to need him."
Carter-Williams, the nation's leader with 10.7 assists per game, is in the midst of his own strong stretch with six consecutive double-doubles. He struggled against the Titans, though, going 1 for 6 from the field and needing to make 9 of 10 free throws to finish with 12 points. He added 10 assists but matched his season high with six turnovers.
Syracuse could face another challenge against Temple (8-2), which won the most recent meeting between these schools 65-54 in the third-place game of the 2002 NIT at MSG. The Orange have a modest 16-13 advantage in the all-time series.
The Owls, however, are coming off their worst shooting performance of the season, making 34.9 percent from the field - 4 of 28 from 3-point range - in Wednesday's 72-62 home loss to Canisius, a team Syracuse routed 85-61 last Saturday.
"We got out of character a little bit and it cost us," Dunphy said. "Can't say it's overly surprising the way we've been playing, escaping with some wins, but we haven't been playing well."
Khalif Wyatt leads Temple with 14.5 points per game, while Scootie Randall isn't far behind at 13.7. Wyatt had 17 points Wednesday despite missing all six of his 3-point attempts, while Randall had a brutal night in hitting 3 of 16 from the field - 1 of 12 from beyond the arc - to finish with seven points.
They had six points apiece while combining to go 0 for 7 from long range in a 90-67 loss to then-No. 2 Duke on Dec. 8 in the Owls' only previous meeting with a ranked opponent this season.
Temple is trying to claim an upset over a top 10 team for the fifth straight season.