SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Rick Jackson dropped 25 pounds in the offseason, and it shows in his game. He's pounding the glass and has not spared one opponent so far in the young season.
Jackson, the lone senior on Syracuse (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today, No. 8 AP), had 17 points and 13 rebounds, his sixth double-double of the season, Kris Joseph added 16 points, and the Orange beat Cornell 78-58 on Tuesday night.
"I've just got the mindset to go after every one [rebound]," said Jackson, who entered the game averaging 12 points and 13 rebounds. "I feel like I'm moving quicker, a little bit more physical, even though I lost weight. I wouldn't say I'm stronger, but I'm more explosive. I'm just able to bang more, get off the ground a little bit more."
Syracuse (7-0), fresh from a triumph in the Legends Classic with wins over Michigan and Georgia Tech, has won 33 straight in the series with Cornell (2-5), which has lost four straight overall.
The easy victory didn't blur the eyes of Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim. After dominating the boards in the first half 27-9, Syracuse held a slim 21-18 margin in the second and committed 12 of its 20 turnovers.
Brandon Triche, Kris Joseph, freshman Dion Waiters and Scoop Jardine, who did not score, made the bulk of the miscues, and Boeheim again had few kind words to say about a team he's called the most overrated in his 35 years.
"The first half we came out, did a good job on the boards, made some good decisions. The second half we thought the game was over," Boeheim said. "Our four best ballhandlers had 16 turnovers. We just can't seem to put consistent efforts together.
"When you don't have good effort, people are going to score," Boeheim said. "We just made ridiculous turnovers that we just can't have. We just can't seem to get together for 40 minutes. We're a long ways from where we need to be at this stage of the year."
Sophomore forward Errick Peck led Cornell with 14 points and Drew Ferry had nine. Point guard Chris Wroblewski, the team's leading scorer at 15.3 points a game, finished with eight points, missing all six attempts from beyond the arc, but had seven assists.
This isn't the same Cornell team that won its third straight Ivy League title and then beat Temple and Wisconsin in the NCAA tournament last season before losing to Kentucky in the round of 16 at the Carrier Dome. Coach Steve Donahue left after a decade for Boston College and eight players from that squad are gone, including high scorer Ryan Wittman, point guard Louis Dale and 7-foot center Jeff Foote.
Wroblewski, a junior, is the Big Red's leader now, and although he's over a broken nose suffered in preseason practice, he's not fully recovered from an ankle sprain. Still, he was 11 of 24 on 3-pointers (46 percent) coming into the game and had a career-high 25 points in a 56-54 loss to St. Bonaventure two weeks ago.
Trailing 38-17 at halftime after going 1 for 12 on 3-pointers despite several open looks, Cornell got untracked at the start of the second half as Wroblewski assisted on two 3s by Ferry in the first 2:01. Wroblewski made a jumper from the left wing and two free throws after a technical against Boeheim to narrow the lead to 43-29 with 15:47 left and Peck's layup had the Big Red within 11 less than 2 minutes later.
"I think in the beginning of the game we were playing really passive," Peck said. "We came into the Carrier Dome, and for a lot of guys it's their first time being here. We were just playing too fast. The second half it was kind of like we play in practice. We finally got some shots to go in. It was just playing with confidence."
Consecutive three-point plays by Jackson and freshman center Baye Moussa Keita and a 3-pointer by Waiters offset another 3 by Ferry and a long baseline jumper by Anthony Gatlin. Syracuse boosted the lead to 62-42 on a resounding one-handed slam dunk by Fair at 7:02, the freshman smiling broadly after completing the play off a long bounce pass from Jackson.
"We didn't play as well as we can," Joseph said. "[Coach] expects more. If we have 20 turnovers against Pittsburgh or UConn, we'll probably lose by 20. Sometimes, we just have to be more patient. If we do that, we'll be fine."
Cornell did not score for a span of 6 minutes in the second half and did not register a basket for 7:19 between Gatlin's jumper and a three-point play by Mark Coury at 5:10. Syracuse finished the game making half of its 58 shots, though the Orange were just 6 of 22 (27.3 percent) on 3-pointers.
"They have so much athleticism and so much size," first-year Cornell coach Bill Courtney said. "When they're shooting well, there's really not a lot you can do to contain them. Being in the Dome and guys for the first time going out there and looking at that Syracuse squad, which looks like an NBA team, guys can be a little passive. We talked about it a lot, and in the second half I think we felt a little more comfortable."
Joseph had seven points, Jackson scored twice inside, and a 3 by Waiters from the right side had Syracuse up 15-3 after just over 4 minutes of play.
Syracuse held the Big Red scoreless for two long stretches in the first half -- 7:16 and 3:26. After Wroblewski hit a long jumper from the right wing to make it 15-7 at 13:18, the Orange responded with a 14-0 run to take control.
- Bob Donato
- Chris Beaver
- Jeff Anderson