Syracuse wrapped up its early season homestand by playing host to the South Carolina State Bulldogs, who on paper are probably the worst team Syracuse will play this season . The result of the game was never in doubt with the Orange cruising to a 101-59 victory over the Bulldogs. While some parts of Syracsue’s play looked ready for the (turkey) meat of the schedule, others did not.
The Press Struggled Early and Often
Syracuse turned to the press early in the first half, clearly using the game as somewhat of an exhibition or a practice. Outside of the first time that Syracuse pressed (where they forced a turnover), the Orange’s pressure defense struggled mightily. South Carolina State was often able to break the press with ease and the only reason they did not rack up points is because they struggled to make easy shots. Boeheim has already bashed his team’s ability, or rather inability to press. Syracuse may ease off the press the next two weeks when they face tougher competition but don’t be surprised if Boeheim tries to improve it during Syracuse’s game agausnst weaker opposition.
Strong Point Guard Play Leads the Way Again
Syracuse fans who are worrying about the team’s point guard prospects next season with Quade Green’s commitment to Kentucky may want to take a deep breath. The Orange’s point guard play has been fantastic this season, including Frank Howard, who will be on the roster next season. Howard and John Gillon combined for 24 points and 15 assists. Howard picked up 10 assists on his own. Gillon lead all scorers in the first half with 10 points in only 12 minutes. Yes, Gillon will not be back next season but Howard will. Boeheim showed that he is not afraid to dive into the Graduate-transfer market. After the game, Boeheim stressed that Syracuse hsa missed on top recruits before and life goes on. Syracuse will be find at point guard next season and will be more than fine this season.
Spreading the Wealth on Offense
The Orange have had stretches where one player takes over a game in terms of scoring. Most recently, Andrew White III scored 18 points in the first half against Monmouth last Friday. However, overall, and again on Tuesday, this team has balanced scoring. All nine scholarship players got on the score sheet and five scored in double digits. Taurean Thompson answered any questions about the health of his foot with a fantastic performance. He went 5-7 for 12 points and added four rebounds and and four blocks. Tyler Lydon started to find his stride finishing the game with 14 points and 10 rebounds, including going four of five from beyond the arc. Syracuse also had three players pick up a double-double.
It wasn’t the prettiest of games at times, but the Orange came into the Dome to get a win and improve to 4-0. The Orange head into Thanksgiving 4-0. So, mission accomplished.
Syracuse takes on the University of South Carolina on Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn for the conclusion of the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational.