College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, November 20, 2009
Watch out for Jim Boehiem's Syracuse Orangemen this season. Ranked preseason as the 6th-best team in the Big East, the Orange took out two ranked opponents en route to capturing the championship in the Coaches Vs. Cancer Classic at madison Square Garden in New York.
After throttling Cal, 95-73, on Thursday, they routed North Carolina, 87-71, Friday night to improve their record to 4-0. (Big East teams were 41-0 before Providence and South Florida lost Friday night to Alabama and South Carolina, respectively.)
Syracuse was led by 6'7" junior forward Wesley Johnson, who sat out all of last season after transferring from Iowa State University. Johnson lit it up for a game-high 25 points, to go with his 8 boards. Johnson was 10-17 from the field, hitting 4-of-8 3-pointers.
The Orangemen had five players in double figures, but senior Andy Rautins was everywhere, scoring 11 points with 3 3-pointers, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and 7 steals.
Syracuse, trailing 39-37 at the half, exploded for a 25-2 run to open the second half and take complete control of the game. North Carolina drew to within 8 points, but never threatened as the Orangemen employed their 2-3 zone to produce 18 Tar Heel turnovers.
NOTABLE: Tennessee's Scotty Hopson tallied 25 points for the second straight game, hitting 10-of-15 shots, including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc, in a 105-66 win over East Carolina. The 3-0 Vols lead the nation in scoring at 104 points per game.