Tuesday , Dec , 19 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Orange attempt to slay Dragons in the Carrier Dome

Syracuse, NY (Sports Network) – The 23rd-ranked Syracuse Orange are always
tough to beat at home, and they welcome the Drexel Dragons to the Carrier
Dome for a non-conference contest.

Since starting the season 2-2, Drexel has rallied to post four
consecutive victories. The team has been idle since December 9th when it
posted its most impressive win, an 81-76 decision over a strong Villanova
squad on the road. On December 28th, the Dragons will begin the
Colonial Athletic Association portion of their schedule, and a win in
tonight’s clash would do wonders for the team’s confidence.

As for Syracuse, it has posted back-to-back wins to improve to 9-2 overall.
The Orange were most recently in action on Saturday when they rolled to a
94-71 decision over Baylor to move to 8-1 at home. Their two losses this
season came against a pair of teams that are currently ranked, Wichita
State and Oklahoma State, by a total of seven points.

Syracuse has won both previous meetings with Drexel.

In the win over Villanova last time out, Drexel shot 50 percent from the
floor and made good on 22-of-25 free throw attempts. Four players reached
double figures in scoring in the win, and Bashir Mason led the way with 21
points. Tramayne Hawthorne tallied 15 points off the bench, and
Frank Elegar contributed 14 points and 11 rebounds. As for Scott
Rodgers, he posted 10 points and five assists. Through eight games, Elegar
leads the team in scoring with 14.1 ppg on 52.8 percent shooting from the
floor. He is also second on the roster with 7.8 rpg. Mason adds 13.3 ppg to
the lineup for the Dragons, who are posting 69.0 ppg while limiting opponents
to 60.2 ppg on 39.7 percent shooting from the field. Drexel has forced 157
turnovers in eight outings, a key to the 6-2 record.

There is no doubt that Demetris Nichols is the best player on the
Syracuse roster. He is scoring 18.5 ppg on 50.7 percent shooting from
the floor, including 50 percent from three-point range, and he has missed
only three of his 29 free throw attempts. Eric Devendorf (11.8 ppg) and
Paul Harris (11.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg) add balance to the lineup for the Orange,
who are scoring 78.1 ppg. More impressive is the fact that they are limiting
opponents to 63.5 ppg on 36.7 percent shooting from the field. In the
victory over Baylor on Saturday, Nichols exploded for 28 points on 12-
of-18 shooting from the field, including a 4-of-6 showing from three-point
range. Darryl Watkins and Paul Harris netted 15 points apiece for
Syracuse, which finished with 24 assists and a 44-28 rebounding advantage.