Syracuse-Providence Preview

The Associated Press

Jim Boeheim said Syracuse's latest effort was one of the worst offensive performances he's seen, and his team still won.

Facing Providence is likely to put the legendary coach in a much better mood.

The No. 7 Orange look to rebound from their worst offensive showing of the season as they try to continue their dominance of the sputtering Friars on Wednesday night.

Syracuse (14-1, 2-0 Big East) is the highest scoring team in the conference, averaging 79.9 points while hitting 46.1 percent from the field. The Orange weren't close to being that productive Sunday at South Florida, but still won 55-44, hitting 36.5 percent from the floor - 4 for 17 from beyond the arc.

Boeheim was far from pleased.

"Offense was really bad. That's all I can tell you. Really, really bad," he said. "If you can't score on a 4-on-1 fast break, there's something wrong with what we're doing. There's just no possible explanation for the way we played."

Still, Syracuse has a four-game winning streak since falling to Temple 83-79 on Dec. 22.

It seems the team is in strong position to extend that run against Providence (8-6, 0-2), which has dropped four in a row and has surrendered at least 80 points in its two Big East games.

The Orange have a 46-10 all-time advantage on the Friars, winning the last five meetings by an average of 15.0 points. They had six players reach double-digit scoring in an 87-73 victory in their most recent visit to Providence on Jan. 4, 2012.

Brandon Triche led the way with 16 points in that contest, but he was held to two in a 78-55 home win 10 days later.

The senior guard leads the Orange with 15.0 points per game, and had 20 against the Bulls after scoring a season-high 25 in a 78-53 win over Rutgers last Wednesday.

Syracuse could use an improved performance from Michael Carter-Williams, the nation's leader with an average of 9.8 assists. The sophomore guard had a season-low four points with five assists while missing 12 of 13 from the field Sunday. However, he added nine rebounds and four steals.

The Friars, who last defeated Syracuse on Jan. 28, 2009, are looking to avoid matching their longest slide from last season. They got closer to that mark Saturday, when they made just 3 of 15 from long range while falling 83-73 to DePaul to end their season-opening seven-game home winning streak.

Bryce Cotton, among the Big East's leading scorers at 21.3 points per game, is trying to continue shaking off the effects of a nagging knee injury, which sidelined him for a 69-68 loss at Brown on Dec. 28. He's totaled 36 points in two games since, and needed to hit 9 of 11 free throws to overcome his 4 for 13 effort from the floor to finish with 20 points off the bench against the Blue Demons.

The junior guard had 20 points in the two meetings with Syracuse last season, while forward Kadeem Batts had 27.

Batts is second on the team with 16.2 points per game, but he has 20.5 over the past four at home.

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