Saturday, December 4, 2010

Syracuse Manages to Survive NC State's Upset Scare

It was a game I was worried about since the schedule came out. Syracuse at home taking on the North Carolina State Wolf Pack. In the first ten minutes or so of the game, it appeared there was no need to fear. Then Dion Waiters kneed C.J. Williams in the testicles and the Wolf Pack found their stroke from 3. Then things got hairy.

North Carolina State turned a 13 point Syracuse advantage into just a 2 point lead with 5:24 left in the first half. Syracuse would buckle down on defense (while their shots would not fall) and thanks to a Scoop Jardine jumper with time expiring in the first half, Syracuse entered the locker room up 38-34 at the break.

Scoop Jardine lead the Orangemen with 23 points on 7 of 21 shooting (2 of 8 from 3-point range). Scoop Jardine made his first two 3-point attempts, and then missed his next six from long distance. Additionally, he grabbed six rebounds (many of them at key moments of the game) and had six assists along with just 1 turnover. However, Scoop constantly put up ugly shots and threw two very ill-advised alley-oop passes during really questionable moments of the first half.

There were long stretches of time during both halves where Syracuse couldn't buy a bucket, and often we saw Scoop Jardine forcing up off balanced shots and wild runners in the lane. We are going to need to cut down on that if Syracuse wants to win in the Big East.

Rick Jackson scored 16 points and grabbed 8 rebounds, while adding 2 assists, 4 steals, 1 block and 2 turnovers. Syracuse was extremely careful with the basketball in this game, only turning the ball over 5 times compared to 17 for the Wolf Pack.

The most disappointing area of this game was rebounding. As North Carolina State somehow out-rebounded Syracuse 34-29 on the night. Fab Melo grabbed 3 rebounds, many of them early, as he only played 14 minutes. He started the game red hot on offense, scoring 5 points including a conventional 3-point play to open the game. He was a non-factor in the 2nd half. Baye Moussa Keita played 17 minutes grabbing 5 rebounds and adding 3 points, however he did commit 4 fouls.

Jim Boeheim will certainly not be pleased with this game's overall performance. Until Syracuse finds a way to play a full 40 minute game, they will continue to have nail-biting finishes. While the defense is good enough to keep Syracuse in most games, they simply can not afford to go long periods of time without a field goal not just on Tuesday against Michigan St., but once Big East Conference play starts as well. Even the bottom feeding Big East teams will be able to hang around with the Orangemen if they can't make a simple jump shot for long stretches of the ball game.

On Tuesday, Syracuse will travel 4 hours to New York City to play in the fabled Madison Square Garden against Tom Izzo's Michigan State Spartans. Michigan St. was pre-season #2 team in the nation, and will certainly be looking to re-establish their national ranking with a win against currently #7 Syracuse.

Michigan State is coming off a trip to the Maui Invitational in Hawaii two weeks ago where they were defeated by then un-ranked UCONN. The Spartans followed that road-trip up with a trip to Duke last week, where the were defeated 84-79. On Tuesday, they will head back out on the road and make a trip to New York City. That's a lot of traveling in a very short amount of time.

With the win, Syracuse improves to 8-0 on the season. North Carolina State is now 4-3. The Orangemen's average margin of victory is a mere 11 points, against the likes of Canisius, Detroit, William & Mary and Cornell to name a few. As a team, the Cuse is shooting 43.6% from the field, which ranks 180th overall in the nation.

photo courtesy of


Zach Menchini said...

i think we can all agree that this team is due for a fall, and soon. let's just get it over with.

Michael Isserlis said...

well, every team loses eventually. no one is going to run the table. this isn't woman's basketball. syracuse will lose some games but their defense is good enough to keep them in it down to the end. just need to limit the bad shots, and take HIGHER percentage shots. then we will be fine.

Anonymous said...

MSU plays some dirty streetball and they can certainly hit the 3. We'll need to step up several parts of our game to be competitive. MSU isn't going to lose to a team that's 180th in shooting but that's not the only part. When Scoop is missing shot after shot jboe needs to pull him to chill that asshole out.

Michael Isserlis said...

i dont know about "asshole" but i was screaming for boeheim to take scoop out after his 3rd straight missed off balance long range jumper in 3 straight possessions. kids gotta feed inside and stop forcing up bad shots! I understand other players aren't going out of their way to shoot the ball but there is a THIRTY-FIVE second shot clock! use it!