Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim paid Orange point guard Michael Carter-Williams the ultimate compliment after the dynamic sophomore added another splendid game to his budding college career.
"He's playing the position as well as you can play it," Boeheim said. "Good decisions. He made one bad play today."
Carter-Williams had eight points and a career-high 13 assists with only one turnover, James Southerland scored 18 points, and No. 6 Syracuse beat Colgate 87-51 on Sunday.
Carter-Williams, who also had six rebounds, missed the only shot he attempted in the first half. But he assisted on nine of the Orange's first 10 baskets, giving him a real shot at challenging the school record for assists in a game.
"I didn't know how many I had," said Carter-Williams, who boosted his season totals to 37 assists with 11 turnovers. "I was just out there playing. My teammates were knocking down shots. They made it look easy for me. I just tried to make it look easy for them."
Syracuse (4-0) outscored Colgate 42-14 in the paint, 21-0 off turnovers, and 18-4 on the fast break to make the 165th meeting between the upstate New York foes another agonizing day for the Raiders (3-4). The Orange have won 47 straight against Colgate.
"I was real happy with just one turnover," said Carter-Williams, who stole the ball after missing a shot and dunked for the Orange's first basket of the second half. "I've had a few that I haven't been proud of. We just try to take away what other teams are good at. Colgate is a good shooting team, so we just tried to get on them and take away their shots."
Sherman Douglas holds the Syracuse record of 22 assists in a game, set against Providence in January 1989. Pearl Washington had 18 against St. John's in February 1984, and Douglas is among five players to notch 14 in a game.
The 6-foot-6 Carter-Williams, who had 11 assists and three turnovers a week ago against Wagner, easily could have had more, and Southerland said he apologized afterward.
"I could've gotten him four or five more assists," said Southerland, who was 4 of 9 on 3-pointers and 7 of 12 overall from the floor. "He's doing a good job looking for teammates and I've seen a big difference."
Brandon Triche finished with 15 points, freshman Dajuan Coleman had a season-high 12 points, and Rakeem Christmas had 10 points and nine rebounds for the Orange.
Murphy Burnatowski, Pat Moore and John Brandenburg each had eight points to lead Colgate. Moore entered the game on a roll, making 14 of 17 3-pointers in his previous two outings. But he was 2 of 8 from behind the arc and 3 of 12 overall before fouling out with 6:02 left.
Colgate came in averaging nearly 10 3-pointers on 46.5 percent shooting. The Raiders made 9 of 28 (32.1 percent) against the Orange.
Burnatowski and Mitch Rolls each hit a 3-pointer in the first 63 seconds of the game to get Colgate started and prompting Boeheim to make his first subsitutions. In went Southerland and he drained a 3 after Carter-Williams missed.
After Burnatowski banked in a 3 to tie the game 11-11, the Syracuse defense clamped down. Colgate was 1 of 11 on 3-pointers the rest of the half to fall hopelessly behind.
"It (shooting 3-pointers) is part of our identity as a group right now," Colgate coach Matt Langel said. "We've got some guys who can shoot the ball, and when those opportunities are there we need to take them. But you can't rely on that to be your only form of offense and your only ability to stay in the game."
Carter-Williams set up Triche for a layup, then fed Southerland a lob for a dunk that had the Carrier Dome crowd buzzing. Triche's 3 from the wing boosted the Syracuse lead to 20-11, and back-to-back 3-pointers from Southerland made it 30-20 with 6:09 left.
Syracuse led 38-24 at the break, and the Raiders never got closer than that the rest of the game. The Orange made 17 straight free throws in the second half before Nolan Hart missed in the final 2 minutes. Syracuse finished 25 of 32 from the line.
"I think in the second half Syracuse just made some significant adjustments," Langel said. "They really made a concerted effort to get the ball inside. They got to the foul line a lot. That makes a difference."