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Was Syracuse’s Offensive Effort vs. Michigan Enough To Give Hope?

Trevor Cooney finds his shot, but Orange still come up short in crunch time.

Despite losing a heartbreaking game last night to Michigan, Syracuse looked like a competitive basketball team on both ends of the court.  Playing the 17th ranked Wolverines on the road wouldn’t be easy, but the Orange put forth their most complete effort of the year.  In fact, the team had two real chances to win the game but committed costly turnovers.

 

The Orange looked most competent on the offensive side of the court.  When Kaleb Joseph hit a three on the Orange’s first possession, it seemed like a huge weight was lifted off of the team’s shoulders, after going 2-of-23 streak from beyond the arc.  The three ball was active for the Orange tonight, as the team hit six of them.  It also included the reemergence of Trevor Cooney, who hit four.

 

SU scored 65 points in the game, right around their season average.  But for the first time this year, Syracuse got contributions from up and down the lineup.  Four players scored in double digits, led by Trevor Cooney’s 16.  The team also shot a season high 50 percent from the field (discounting the lopsided win against Loyola).

 

Through the whole game, it seemed as if the Orange were getting good shots with ball movement.  Because the Orange was able to make threes, it opened up the floor for Rakeem Christmas and Chris McCullough in the second half.  And when the Orange has good spacing, the ball movement is pretty to watch.  What weren’t pretty were the turnovers, which ultimately lost the Orange the game, but that’s another story.

 

This performance was also encouraging because the guards got involved in the scoring.  Finally taking a load off the shoulders of Rak and McCullough, Cooney and Gbinije were involved in the offense all night long.  Gbinije did what he does best, and drove to the hoop all night, giving the shooters space.  Cooney set a season high for points.
The offense was able to keep the Orange in the game when the defense was challenged for the first time all year.  Despite being down double digits well into the second half, the offense was able to battle back to tie the game.  If the team can play like this against St. John’s on Saturday at the Dome and comes away with a victory, it will give fans hope that the Orange really are just experiencing growing pains.

 

BJ Johnson has to be given more minutes by Boeheim and he probably should’ve called a timeout with 15 seconds left, but Orange fans shouldn’t be disappointed with this loss because the offense finally showed its potential.

 

Posted:  Jason Weingold
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