Jim Boeheim switched up the Orange rotation to great effect Wednesday night. SU’s game plan was different than it has been all season and the changes led to Syracuse recording its first ACC win of the year, 70-55 over Miami.
Only Playing Five
All the talk heading into this season was focused on Syracuse’s depth. The thought was that the Orange had nine solid options this year. Clearly, things haven’t quite worked out that way.
Last night, Boeheim played the five best basketball players on his team almost exclusively. Frank Howard hasn’t shown he can shoot consistently, so John Gillon played over him. Taurean Thompson struggles defensively, so Tyler Roberson took his place.
The combination of Gillon, Roberson, Tyler Lydon, Andrew White, and Tyus Battle gave Syracuse the best chance to win. They all played at least 35 minutes, with White and Battle going the distance. Last night proved this is a winning formula, one that many Orange fans didn’t know existed.
Gillon Over Howard
Looking at this more specifically, Howard has simply had too many bad games to be Syracuse’s starting point guard. Sunday’s performance against BC was the last straw. Howard was 1-6 from the field, had as many assists as turnovers (3) and committed two offensive fouls.
Gillon hasn’t exactly lit it up for Syracuse this year either, but last night he looked like a Syracuse starting point guard. He doled out a season high 11 assists in 39 minutes. Overall, he’s more in control than Howard has ever been this season. That’s big.
Roberson Over Thompson
If White and Lydon aren’t scoring, Syracuse needs Thompson in the game for his offense. Last night White and Lydon were scoring, which makes everything easier for Syracuse.
Roberson played for his defense, but because Miami was so focused on stopping White and Lydon, the senior scored four times at the rim and finished the game with nine points. Beautiful.
Up next for Syracuse, a game against Pitt. The Panthers played the Orange three times last season and won every matchup. It’ll be interesting to see what tweaks Boeheim makes to the five he rolled with against Miami. Will we see more games like we did against the ‘Canes or is Boeheim operating on more of a game-by-game basis?
Posted: Connor Morrissette