Chestnut Hill, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Syracuse Orange put their perfect record on the line once more as they take on an old rival in the Boston College Eagles, this time in Atlantic Coast Conference action.
Not only has Syracuse not dropped a decision in 16 games this season, but it has also made quite an entrance into the ACC with a 3-0 league ledger, after stifling traditional power North Carolina for a 57-45 win on Saturday. This is just the third true road test of the season for the Orange, who return to the comforts of the Carrier Dome next to take on Pittsburgh.
Boston College will be trying to build upon a 62-59 road triumph over Virginia Tech from this past Saturday. The victory ended a four-game losing streak for the Eagles, who are just 5-14 overall. Playing at home hasn't yielded entirely favorable results, as they have split their six contests at Conte Forum. A trip to Chapel Hill to tangle with North Carolina is next on the docket.
Before Boston College jumped to the ACC in 2005 these teams used to match up every season as Big East Conference foes. Now that Syracuse has followed the Eagles, that rivalry can continue. The Orange have the upper hand in the all- time series, 40-23, although Boston College has won the two most recent meetings.
Jim Boeheim's patented zone defense can add another team to its list of victims after Syracuse held North Carolina to just 39.2 percent shooting, while forcing 14 turnovers on Saturday. The Orange also earned 17 offensive rebounds to enjoy a 12-2 edge in second-chance points.
Their defensive scheme has always served the Orange well, and this season has been no different as they rank eighth in the nation in scoring defense (58.4 ppg), while foes are shooting just 41.1 percent from the field. CJ Fair (17.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg) is the top scoring option when Syracuse is on offense. Fair tallied 20 points and eight rebounds to lead four players in double figures against the Tar Heels. Trevor Cooney (13.5 ppg) is the next option, although he is primarily a gunner from beyond the arc. Cooney struggled against the Tar Heels, netting just 2-of-12 from 3-point range. Jerami Grant (12.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg) provides even more scoring punch, and Tyler Ennis (11.6 ppg, 5.7 apg, 2.6 spg) leads the ACC in steals while ranking third in assists.
Lonnie Jackson sank 5-of-8 shots from beyond the arc and finished with a game- high 17 points in Boston College's recent win over Virginia Tech. The Eagles earned a 30-21 scoring edge from 3-point range in the contest, while holding the Hokies to just 35.1 percent shooting overall.
Normally, Olivier Hanlan (19.5 ppg) is the player pushing the pace for Boston College, as the sophomore guard ranks second in the ACC in scoring, and after netting 14 points against Virginia Tech, has scored in double figures in all but one game this season. However, Hanlan only hit on 5-of-15 shots from the floor against the Hokies, marking the third time in the last four games he has shot below 40 percent from the field. Ryan Anderson (15.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg) is a guy who has demonstrated decent range on this shot, as he is the only other player on the roster averaging double figures. After the duo of Hanlan and Anderson, Joe Rahon (9 ppg) is the only contributor netting more than six ppg.