Scott Wood hit six 3-pointers against Syracuse's zone last year and he was clearly a point of emphasis on the scouting report this year. Wood attempted only one shot in the first half, a 2-pointer, and didn't make a 3 until the first possession of the second half. Wood finished with eight points and two 3-pointers. Midway through the first half, State coach Mark Gottfried yelled across the court: "Move, Scott, move!" He was moving, but Syracuse was closing him out from anywhere inside 30 feet.
This is a much deeper and more talented version of the Syracuse team that won 27 games last season, then fizzled out in the round of 32 to fellow Big East member Marquette. With one point from veteran guard Brandon Triche (one point) and a relatively quiet 16 points from Scoop Jardine, the Orange got a pick-me-up from Dion Waiters (22 points off the bench) and C.J. Fair (11) picking up the slack on offense.
"Those are probably the best guards we're going to play against," State senior C.J. Williams said. Defensively, Waiters is a beast at the top of the zone with Fab Melo and Baye Keita protecting the basket. Gottfried was duly impressed by the Orange. "They were good on tape, they were better in person," Gottfried said.
Just like when the NHL's Buffalo Sabres visit the RBC Center, there was a healthy amount of fans from upstate New York at the arena on Saturday.