The only real positive that came out of the Orange’s slow, painful death to Miami was the breakout of freshman Malachi Richardson. All season long, Richardson has shown promise in the different parts of his game, ranging from his three-point shooting to his inside scoring to his ball movement. On Saturday afternoon, he put it all together, scoring a career-high 20 points on 7-of-15 shooting, including 5-of-6 from three. Unfortunately, he was the only player who showed up.
First Half Defense
The Orange held Miami to just 17 points on just 19 percent shooting before halftime. SU had six steals and out-rebounded the Hurricanes. Miami was also 0-for-13 form three in the first half, which contributed to the lack of scoring. Unfortunately, the Hurricanes outscored SU 47-26 in the second half to pull away. The Orange simply couldn’t find any offense.
When a program has had extended success under a head coach for as long as Syracuse has, it’s very easy to take it for granted. Well, Mike Hopkins’ lack of second half adjustments and game management has certainly made fans realize how great of a coach Boeheim actually is. With just one game left in the boss’ nine game suspension, Boeheim’s return should be on everybody’s mind. Look for drastic changes next weekend versus UNC. Hopkins is currently 4-4 as head coach.
Tyler Roberson and Dajuan Coleman were invisible on Saturday, which led largely to the collapse down the stretch and the overall lack of scoring. Coleman fouled out in just 15 minutes, which is inexcusable, while Roberson scored just five points in 32 minutes. Both players had breakout games over the last few weeks, but Saturday’s performance set them back. It’s not as if the two didn’t get looks, because they combined to shoot 4-of-13 from the floor, including many missed layups and put backs.
Tyler Lydon, Kaleb Joseph, and Chinso Obokoh combined for just seven points off of the bench. Joseph looked lost on the floor, and one has to wonder if he even would have seen the floor had Franklin Howard been healthy. Obokoh played decently in relief of Coleman, but he simply doesn’t see enough minutes to be effective. Lydon needs to be more decisive with the ball, as he passed up numerous shots and looks trigger-shy. When the starters cannot score and the bench can’t help, it’s a recipe for disaster.
For the second straight game, Syracuse hung around with a more talented team, only to fall apart in the closing minutes. The Hurricanes ended the game on a 23-10 run after the Orange tied the game at 41. The worst part is that the Orange plays at a million miles an hour when down in the closing minutes, which leads to numerous turnovers, bad shots, and terrible decisions. Part of this can definitely be attributed to Hopkins, so hopefully Boeheim can calm his team down in the future.