MBB : Syracuse thriving at fast, slow tempos

first_img Comments As Jim Boeheim poked fun at his senior point guard after Monday’s win over Louisville, he highlighted arguably the most daunting task Syracuse’s opponents face when they take on the Orange this season.In SU’s last two games, Scoop Jardine has gone 8-of-17 from the field. But all of those makes came in an 8-of-9 performance Saturday against Connecticut followed by his 0-of-8 showing against Louisville on Monday.‘I told Scoop he’s shooting 50 percent now the last two games,’ Boeheim said. ‘One hundred percent (sic) one game and zero percent this game.’Like Jardine, the rest of the Orange couldn’t miss against UConn and then couldn’t hit anything against the Cardinals. But in both games, one full of offensive fireworks and the other a defensive slugfest, No. 2 Syracuse (26-1, 13-1 Big East) came out on top. And that has been a key for SU this season. The Orange has shown it can win the fast-paced, up-and-down games against teams that like to run while also being able to grind out wins against foes content to slug it out in the half court.Rutgers (12-13, 4-8 Big East) is the next team that will have to decide whether to slow the game down or speed it up against the Orange when SU travels to the Louis Brown Athletic Center to battle the Scarlet Knights at 1 p.m. Sunday.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘We can score,’ Jardine said. ‘You watch the UConn game, we made shots. That’s on them if they want to dare us (to shoot) or try to find schemes to beat us. We know we can only beat ourselves. We just have to continue to play basketball and try to gut out wins.’Syracuse has been up and down offensively from the start of the season. It has 12 wins in which it scored 80 or more points, but it also boasts seven victories in which it has failed to score 70.The Orange’s current six-game winning streak highlights those discrepancies even more.It started with two slugfest games against Cincinnati and West Virginia when SU put up 60 and 63, respectively. Syracuse then exploded for 95 against St. John’s and survived in overtime with 64 against Georgetown. Then came the 59.3 percent shooting performance for 85 points against UConn and Monday’s horrid 52 points against Louisville.It may seem like a lot of inconsistency, but sophomore Dion Waiters has another way to describe it.‘There’s games like Connecticut where everything’s going right,’ he said after the win over the Cardinals. ‘You’ve got to be able to face adversity when things aren’t going right. Tonight, the offense wasn’t flowing, but the defense was.’The only game in which SU wasn’t able to overcome that adversity was against Notre Dame’s burn offense. The Fighting Irish ran the shot clock under 10 seconds on nearly every possession and shot an even 50 percent from the field.Of course, that night the Orange was without sophomore Fab Melo, who is one of the front-runners for the Big East Defensive Player of the Year award. In a similar battle of defensive wills Monday, Melo played 37 minutes and scored 11 points with six rebounds.And that’s another factor that helps the Orange adjust to various styles of play.‘It’s the depth,’ Waiters said. ‘We got a lot of guys, and everybody believes in each other on the team. It’s not just a one-man show.’When Syracuse has multiple players having good nights, it can turn games into track meets and force opponents to outscore the Orange. But when some players are struggling, one or two typically turn it on like Kris Joseph did with 29 points against Georgetown.And on the rare occasion when no one can hit a shot, SU buckles down on defense and forces opponents to work for every shot.‘We always find a way, offensively or defensively, to make a play,’ junior Brandon Triche said.Rutgers averages just more than 66 points per game, so the Scarlet Knights may force the Orange into a half-court battle this weekend. And if that’s the case, Syracuse is fine with it.As long as it comes out on top.‘Honestly, when you see those type of games, you just want the win,’ Jardine said after beating the Cardinals. ‘I’m not even mad that I had zero points because at the end of the day the only thing that matters is that we get a W.’zjbrown@syr.edu Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Published on February 15, 2012 at 12:00 pmlast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *