Johnson leads Syracuse over Colgate 92-58Dec 1, 2009 - 3:12 AM By JOHN KEKIS AP Sports Writer
SYRACUSE, N.Y.(AP) -- Colgate gave then-No. 12 Connecticut a game two weeks ago in the NIT Season Tip-Off, trailing by just a point at halftime.
No such luck against Syracuse.
Wes Johnson scored 19 points, Andy Rautins hit three 3-pointers to help key an early surge and the eighth-ranked Orange overwhelmed the Raiders 92-58 on Monday night.
"We let them know that we mean business," said Johnson, who had outscored Colgate 14-13 with just under five minutes remaining in the first half. "We couldn't come out sluggish because of what happened in the Le Moyne game. We have a lot of confidence, but we're still staying humble with the fact that we're doing good."
Syracuse (7-0), which lost a preseason game to Division II Le Moyne, leads the series with Colgate 117-45, including 44 wins in a row.
Colgate (0-6) ended up losing by 14 to UConn in a game that gave the Raiders a mental boost. They were coming off a 66-65 home loss to St. Francis on Saturday, beaten on a last-second shot. But they were outclassed from the opening tip in this one.
Johnson hit a pair of 3s and Rautins drained three more in the first 6:31. That gave Rautins 205 career 3-pointers, tied with Demetris Nichols for fourth place at Syracuse, three behind Eric Devendorf.
"It's great when you shoot the ball like that," Jim Boeheim said after his 1,000th win at Syracuse, 806 as head coach and 194 as a player and assistant coach. "I think our offense was pretty good in the first half."
Johnson, one of five Orange players in double figures, also had a game-high nine rebounds and five assists. Rautins finished with nine points, eight assists and four steals.
Mitch Rolls, Kyle Roemer and Yaw Gyawu led Colgate with eight points apiece. Roemer, the Raiders' leading scorer with an 18.4 average, was 3 of 13 shooting.
Syracuse committed just three turnovers in the opening period but did not give up a point on any of them while scoring 18 off Colgate's 10 turnovers and getting 15 fast-break points to zero for the Raiders.
The undersized Raiders missed injured guard Mike Venezia, one of their best outside shooters, and trailed 47-16 at halftime, five points off Syracuse's school record for fewest points allowed in a half. The Orange allowed 11 in the first half of a 60-43 win over Princeton in 1999.
"We'd get the ball to Roemer, and they were on him," Colgate coach Emmett Davis said. "He just couldn't get any looks. Maybe he could just skip it to Venezia and he could knock one down."
Syracuse entered the game averaging an impressive 40.5 percent on 3-pointers and built a 13-point lead in just more than 4 minutes on their long-range shooting.
The Orange hit five of their first six attempts from beyond the arc. In between, Johnson fed Rick Jackson for a hook in the lane, Brandon Triche converted a layup off a steal by Johnson, and Arinze Onuaku slammed home a two-handed dunk.
Rautins made a perfect lob to Johnson for a resounding one-handed slam for a 22-10 edge at 14:12. Colgate was held without a basket for nearly nine minutes as the Orange closed the half with a 25-6 spurt.
"When you're struggling to score, it's hard to play defense. You've got to get a bucket sometime to get some energy," Davis said. "You've got to dig down and compete, have some pride."
Colgate did just that in the second half and was outscored only 45-42 as Boeheim freely substituted.
"It's all about pride," Colgate's Nick Pascale said. "We've just got to play for ourselves. They're a great team. It's a good test for us to get ready for the Patriot League. They're a lot bigger than us, quicker, faster. We knew that coming in, but we just tried to battle."
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