Boeheim 1 game away from 2nd in all-time wins; Coleman on the learning curve

first_imgWith Syracuse’s 96-62 win over Central Connecticut on Monday, head coach Jim Boeheim tied legendary coach Bob Knight for second place on the all-time wins list.Even his players know, though, that Boeheim’s not focusing on his own accomplishments. Only the team’s performance matters.“Coach has just done so much for this program and that many wins, it’s amazing,” guard Michael Carter-Williams said. “He’s probably not thinking about it too much. He just wants to win every game. My congratulations to him, I’m glad I’m a part of it and I know he wants to move on to the next one and win the next one.”Boeheim will go for win No. 903 when the Orange opens up its Big East schedule against Rutgers Wednesday. Knight, who began his head coaching career at Army before coaching at Indiana for 29 years and Texas Tech for another seven, finished up his career with a record of 902-371.SU’s head coach is now 902-305. Once he passes Knight, he’ll be chasing Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, whose record is 938-291.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhile Boeheim is chasing a major milestone for his own career, starting up Big East play is what makes Syracuse’s game against Rutgers on Wednesday important, forward James Southerland said.“It’s great to be a part of something like this,” Southerland said. “At the same time, we’re going in there focusing on Rutgers. Big East is starting, and we’re getting ready to go.”Coleman catching upDaJuan Coleman is still learning. His freshman season has been full of ups and downs, but as Syracuse enters the start of Big East play, Coleman’s becoming a much more consistent force in the low post.Coleman scored 13 points in Syracuse’s 96-62 win over Central Connecticut Monday, and he also grabbed nine rebounds and had two blocks. He scored 11 of his points in the second half, mainly during a particularly aggressive stretch where he was a menace to the Blue Devils’ big men.Boeheim said after the game that Coleman is still adjusting to the collegiate level, and he’s still learning how to play against much bigger players than he was facing in high school. But Boeheim said it’s no different for Coleman than it is for any freshman big man.“It’ll take time. When we go against really big teams, 7-footers, it’ll be an adjustment. He hasn’t played those guys,” Boeheim said. “The first year’s a learning experience for any low-post player. It’s always difficult. If you’re 7-foot, it’s difficult. It takes time.”After committing a turnover in the early part of the first half, Coleman didn’t make many more mistakes.In the second half, he used his size under the basket to back down 6-foot-6 Central Connecticut forward Jose Efese, drew the foul and hit one free throw to put the Orange up 51-28.About six minutes later, he again used his body to work to the basket, sticking his arm into his defender’s chest to give himself space and made the layup to give Syracuse a 70-36 lead.“I’m definitely seeing some improvement. He’s doing a great job of staying focused. He’s not a guy to get down,” forward Southerland said. “He just goes in there and does what he needs to do, whether he’s playing 10 minutes or 25 minutes. He’s going to go in there and give everything he’s got.”Boeheim also said after the game that the important thing for Coleman is that he’s able to get back and play defense. Seven of his nine rebounds came on the defensive glass.Coleman said his primary focus at this point is improving his defense, but that he also wants to improve his finishing and free throws. He sank three on Monday.As the games go on, though, he said he’s been able to think about what he’s doing under the basket more and isn’t rushing. He’s finally catching up to the speed of the collegiate game.“It’s definitely been easier,” Coleman said. “Just taking my time, seeing what I have then making a move. I think I did pretty good on that the last couple games and I just want to get better.” Comments Published on January 1, 2013 at 10:42 am Contact Chris: [email protected] | @chris_iseman Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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