One Step Closer: Syracuse beats Minnesota 75-67 to face Cal in Maui Invitational

The Fizz recaps the Orange’s defeat over Minnesota in the Maui Invitational.

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After days of relaxation in Maui, the Syracuse Orange experienced a bit of stress Monday night defeating Minnesota, 75-67. The game was close until about two minutes left in the game, when the Orange hit six out of seven free throws down the stretch to lock up a win and look to today’s game against California. The game will be a rematch of last year’s NCAA tournament round three matchup between Syracuse and the Golden Bears. California is coming off a win in Maui against the Arkansas Razorbacks.

C.J. Fair finished the contest with a double-double despite struggling in the first half. Fair scored 16 points and grabbed 10 boards. He did, however, commit five turnovers, three of which came in the first half. But Fair proved why he is a Wooden Award candidate, nailing almost every 15-foot jumper he took in the second half. Fair has been expected to take his leadership to the next level, as he is one of just two seniors on the team. He showed tremendous poise in a tough game away from home.

DaJuan Coleman and Trevor Cooney were two big question marks coming into the season. Both had limited minutes last season but were put in starting roles at the beginning of this year. Luckily for the team, both have had drastic improvement. Coleman has started to become a major factor in the paint. Although he does not have the height of Fab Melo, Coleman has used his size to dominate on both sides of the floor. He has been muscling his opponents for defensive position and has become visibly more aggressive in scoring. On the other hand, Trevor Cooney has been using his fluid shot to score from everywhere behind the arc. We have discussed how much pressure there was on Cooney to come in and automatically produce for the Orange. Although he struggled from 3-point land against Fordham, Colgate and St. Francis, he has shown improvement in other areas. His ball handling and defensive ability have turned Cooney into a bigger asset for Jim Boeheim. It also takes the pressure off of having to make every shot to avoid going to the bench like last season. Both these players have not played up to their potential yet this season, but Cooney and Coleman have shown flashes of what they are capable of.

After Jim Boeheim let him hear it last week, Tyler Ennis continued to take too many shots instead of dishing the ball out. The freshman finished 1-9 from the field. He also finished with a career-high five steals. A silver lining for Ennis was his lack of turnovers. In fact, Ennis did not commit a single turnover the entire game. The problem is how to interpret that statistic. Not turning the ball over is the main goal for a point guard, but does it mean that Ennis is not passing enough? Whereas Michael Carter-Williams used to pass too much and created a plethora of turnovers, Ennis seems to be doing the opposite. He is still taking the ball to the hoop too much instead of finding the open man. It is not necessarily selfish play; it is the fact that Ennis wants to do too much when he simply is not ready to. Finding a middle ground between passing and taking the ball to the basket will be the biggest challenge for Ennis in the coming weeks.

A major positive from last night’s game was Syracuse’s free-throw percentage. Syracuse has struggled from the line all season but went 22-27 against the Golden Gophers. Three of those misses came from DaJuan Coleman, who went 3-of-6. Tyler Ennis went 10-of-11 to make up for his low field-goal percentage. Boeheim knows that if this team wants to stay in the top 10, it will need to hit its free throws. Because this team has areas of inexperience and a lack of depth, mainly in the backcourt, free throws are a great way to cut into leads and put games away, like last night.

California will be looking to pull the upset in Hawaii later today. Highly touted freshman Jabari Bird will be the Orange’s biggest headache, as he leads the Golden Bears scoring attack with 13.5 PPG. Another player to look out for is David Kravish, who scored 19 points and had 15 boards against Arkansas yesterday. Will Syracuse take one step closer to their third Maui Invitational Championship?

Posted by: Zephan Mayell

15 Comments on this Post

  1. I’m not really up on SUBB recruiting. I find it rather boring with only a few players coming in each year. I’m not sure(excuse my stupidity), but was Mello the last top 5 recruit for SU-if he was a top 5???? And why no top 5’s in recent years. Don’t tell me they are not JB’s type either. Only a fool would not be interested in a top 5 product!! Just wondering.

    Do not forget the kids of PSABUSEDU!! The NCAA did!!

  2. @Terry;

    Terry we have another 5* recruit coming in for 2014. Chris McCullough is a 6’10” 220 lb power forward couple that with the 4* 165 lb PG Kaleb Joseph coming in and 2014 should be real interesting

    Syracuse is going to lose 2 players in CJ Fair and Baye Moussa Keita to graduation and a possibility of one(Jerami Grant) opting to go early for the NBA. But with the addition of the two new recruits coming in for next season will only make Syracuse a stronger team.

  3. @Terry;

    To answer your question,when was the last 5* recruit to come to Syracuse? After Fab Melo we had the following;

    DaJuan Coleman class of 2012
    Rakeem Christmas class of 2011
    Michael Carter-Williams class of 2011

    3* Baye Moussa Keita has been the lowest ranked player recruited(2010) in a long time. All the other players recruited to Syracuse have been 4* athletes. Exception being the walk-ons.

  4. I should have added the class of 2013;

    Tyler Ennis is a 5*

    Tyler Roberson is a 4*
    B.J. Johnson is a 4*
    Ron Patterson is a 4*
    Chinonso Obokoh is another 3* athlete.

    We should give thanks to Mike Hopkins,Jerry McNamara and Adrian Autry for bringing the talent to Syracuse. One other point their already after recruits for the class of 2016. Syracuse is only getting better,they’re not hurting for anything.

  5. Syracuse basketball has a winning momentum in place for Hopkins and the other coaches. Shafer doesn’t have that luxury and needs to leap over that chasm and bring in quality on a leap of faith. Holley is a kid we must bring into the Orangemen’s roster. I would include Mavety but he is as good as gone as are a few of his high talent teammates. BTW we haven’t seen an article about a recruit that really likes the Cuse in a while here and other sites.We know that Ismael likes the Orange but still hasn’t declared for us yet.We need big help on the O-line and secondary. Any word on either FIZZ ? A big time running back would help as well.

  6. Coleman has potential. The jury is still out on Cooney who is supposed to be out heavy 3-point gunner. I have seen high school 3-point players who on offense have impressed me much more than Mr Cooney. So what gives after 2 years at the CUSE?

  7. @John Humphries;

    Trevor Cooney “redshirted” his freshman year because of Brandon Triche and Scoop Jardine and didn’t play much last year because of Michael Carter Williams and Brandon Triche.

    Trevor is just now starting to scratch the surface showing us all what he’s capable of and is only going to get better during the season. Trevor is playing as a sophomore and by the time he graduates will become an “All-American” that we all can be proud of and damn glad that he came to Syracuse to play basketball.

    Let’s all wait until the season is over before we get into judging the players.

    I think this team makes a run for the ACC league championship,gets a #1 or #2 seed in the NCAA tournament and makes a 6 game run to the National Championship. Trevor Cooney is going to be a major player for Syracuse in achieving those goals.

  8. Ron I meant in the “TOP 5” of that years whole class. Kentucky kind of TOP 5. When was SU last TOP 5 of that years class??? Was it Melo??? Not stars!! Thank you!! Why hasn’t JB got any since Melo if true!! Just wondering!!

  9. @Terry;

    If your asking what a players position ranking is,5* Chris McCullough is ranked the 3rd best PF in the country for the incoming class of 2014.

    I hope this is what your asking for.

    I hope/wish all members of the Fizz website and their families a HAPPY THANKSGIVING.

  10. Ron 3rd best PF might mean he is 20th in the top 100. Top 5 is TOP FIVE best players of that class.

  11. @Terry;

    Terry let me try this again. I’ve gone back to the 2002 class and have found that Syracuse has not had a top 5 recruit. I can’t give you an answer on the classes before 2002.

    The highest that I found was;

    5* Forward Donte Greene ranked #8 in the class of 2007

    5* Center Fab Melo was the #1 recruit in the class of 2010 but was ranked #13 in that class.

    5* Small Forward Carmelo Anthony was the #1 recruit in the class of 2002 and no results were found as to wheather he was in the top 5 or not.

  12. Syracuse was crowned Champions of the Maui Holiday Tournament on Wednesday beating Minnesota,Cal and Baylor,teams that at game time were all undefeated,played on a neutral court. Impressive very impressive.

    I can hear the complaints/comments coming from the likes of Doug Gottlieb(CBS) and other ESPN pundits critizing Syracuse for their easy schedule loaded with creampuff teams in the Carrier Dome that allows Syracuse to stay at home during the month of November. They’re going to try and tell us that Syracuse is overrated as a team because you see they beat those undefeated teams on a neutral court in Maui which is one of the suburbs of Syracuse in upstate NY. Just like they tell us when Syracuse travels to Boston,Albany,NJ and NYC to play a game.

    I thought Syracuse looked a little sluggish against Minnesota and Cal and played better against Baylor in the championship game. With the wins Syracuse(7-0) has the earlty lead as #1 in conference play with Pittsburgh setting at #2. If they win on Tuesday at home against Indiana,Syracuse should enter ACC play undefeated at 13-0. My feelings on Syracuse is that they win the league(title)and ACC Conference Championship and make a run to the “NCAA Final Four” and going to the Championship Game and bringing home it’s second National Championship Trophy.

    Congratulations to Coach Boeheim and the mens basketball team on winning the schools third Maui Tournament.

  13. This team is surely different. Could be an interesting year. But to sound strange they miss Bernie and his big guy coaching!!

  14. Terry,

    Last top 5 class was Donate Green an Flynn class. They where ranked 1 or 2. Can’t remember. This years class is small. CM has the talent of a top 5 guy but he tended to coast a lot this summer causing if to slide from the top 10 to top 15. SU just doesn’t recruit like UK. It is what it is doesn’t mean we got get our fair share of talent though b/c we do. SU recruits guys that fit their system and they do a good job of it. The 15 class I think will be super talented. Lydon who has already committed has a real good chance at being a 5 star guy when it’s all said an done. Thomas Bryant, D.jones, C.Diallo couple others all hovering around the top 10. Should be a real good class.

  15. @Terry;

    The highest ranked class that I could find going back over the last eleven years was the class of 2007 which was ranked #8 nationally. That year we recruited Donate Green and Johnny Flynn.

    I don’t think Syracuse has ever recruited a top 5 class.

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