Is this how it's going to be all season long? Syracuse has a horrible first half where they look completely inept on offense and then they pick up the pace on both ends of the floor and walk away with an easy win? I don't mind that last part but the first part is quite disturbing. But the Orange did win their third game in a week, beating Detroit, 66-55.
Depth. That has been the word most tossed around when talking about this squad. I've said this is one of the deepest teams Boeheim has had in awhile. But that's because of their talent level and as Boeheim has pointed out, they have yet to prove anything yet. Last night they proved they aren't afraid to take shots (and that's not a good thing).
There is a lot of bravado on this team. Everyone thinks they can score one-on-one and if they miss the first time they're not shy to put it up again. That mentality was not very effective last night. Syracuse settled for the three-pointer and went into one of the worst slumps I've ever seen from the Orange. Rick Jackson made a layup at 12:39 and then they didn't hit another field goal until 6:02. During that stretch they missed 16 shots. 0-16!
What contributed to the slump was Detroit playing...the 2-3 zone! I find it hilarious (and painful) that Syracuse has such problems with the 2-3 zone. They know it inside and out and practice against the best 2-3 zone in the nation and yet they struggle practically every time someone throws it against them.
The slump was finally ended by Baye Moussa Keita (finally wrote his name without having to look it up!). He blocked McDonald's All-American Ray McCallum, grabbed the rebound and then got the offensive rebound and putback on the other end. And instead of fouling out, Moussa Keita was drawing fouls on both the offensive and defensive end. But despite his efforts, the Orange trailed 28-25 at the half.
The second half was the Scoop show. Jardine scored 17 of their first 22 point and assisted on the other 2 baskets. They got their offense flowing by getting out in transition (as has been the case in each game this season). They had a little 9-2 run midway through the second half that really broke the game open and all nine points were scored in transition. And Scoop was leading the break almost every time. He had a career-high 27 points and added 8 assists and 5 steals.
While Scoop provided the offense, it was Rick Jackson doing the dirty work. He had set a career high with 13 rebounds against Canisius and shattered that mark last night. Jackson pulled in 22 rebounds, the most by an SU player since Billy Owens in 1991.
Syracuse now gets one cupcake (not an actual cupcake, Melo) before a few more non-conference challenges. Usually the whole month of November is full of cupcakes, but not this year. Not the year when it probably would've been most beneficial with so many freshman being worked into the fold. They play William & Mary on Sunday and then Michigan the day after Thanksgiving in Atlantic City.Notes:
-We finally got a quick glimpse of the Fab Melo we've expected to see. Shortly after that 9-2 run I mentioned earlier, Melo swatted a shot and then caught an alley-oop on the other end. AND he didn't even foul out this game! Although, that's mainly because Boeheim severely limited his minutes. He played just 15 minutes and picked up 3 fouls over that duration.
-Alright, Mr. Boeheim. I apologize. I should've never questioned why James Southerland wasn't playing more. For the second game in a row he wasn't shy to shoot the ball and finished 1 for 9. He's like the backup QB and I was the idiot fan screaming to the coach to bench the starter and put him in. There's a reason he's a backup.
-Kris Joseph struggled once again. He finished with just 3 points and missed all five of his shot attempts. He's not making his outside shots and teams are just sitting in the lane daring him to shoot it. He has to be able to knock those down if he wants to lead this team.
-Boeheim limited Dion Waiters to just 11 minutes and he had another poor performance hitting just 1 of 6 shots. If he wasn't in Boeheim's doghouse, he probably is now.
-The more things change, the more they stay the same. During the 2 exhibition games, Syracuse hit 27 of 30 free throws. It got my hopes up that this year free throws would no longer be a complete crapshoot. But through 3 games they are shooting 63% and shot 50% last night.