On the surface, SU only defeated Seton Hall by 12 points in its first Big East Tourney game and allowed the Pirates to shoot over 50% from the field. But after trailing by double digits in the first half, the Orange played one of its best halves as a team i to rally past SHU and advance to the quarterfinals. Every starter contributed in some way inside the Garden, and played, what Jim Boeheim called, one of SU’s best halves of the season.
Here’s The Fizz Five takeaways from Syracuse’s 75-63 victory:
CJ Fair, James Southerland and Brandon Triche shot a combined 63% from the field. That was good for 53 of Syracuse’s 75 points. That is efficiency. And if that is what it takes to win, so be it. Besides Southerland’s 4 first half threes, the trio really did not come alive as a unit until the second half. They need this effort to carry over to today’s matchup against Pittsburgh. And the core scorers need to use this spark to get off to a faster start in the first half.
- Is Brandon Triche Back?
It’s hard to say after his first solid outing in a few weeks, but SU has to buy into it at this point in the season. Triche finished with 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting and showed some fire in the second half that Orange Nation has not seen in a long time. It’s tough to break through a slump, but what the Orange needs from its senior against Pittsburgh is more fierce fist pumps and confident drives through the lane. Good play is contagious. Southerland’s hot shooting from beyond the arc and MCW’s dimes certainly helped take some of the pressure off of Triche.
- Different Zone Presence v. Pittsburgh
Fair admitted to The Fizz post game that he and Southerland could cheat out to the wing to guard against the Pirate shooters. It was certainly necessary, since in the first ten minutes of the game Seton Hall knocked down six triples and got out to a 24-14 lead. The gameplan changes though vs. Pitt. The forwards underneath can’t stray too far from the paint against a bigger Panther lineup that features 7-footer Steven Adams. The Fizz has spotlighted SU’s lack of presence on the defensive glass, and can not afford to get beat underneath early on against Pittsburgh.
- Christmas Belongs Inside
Throughout games, we’ll see Good Rakeem and Bad Rakeem. In the first half last night, Bad Rakeem took one too many elbow jumpers – and Coach Boeheim let him know it. Good Rakeem popped out in the second half. Christmas battled for boards in the paint and played solid D as SU pulled away. If Christmas learns not to deviate from the lane on the offensive end, things will go smoothly for the Orange. He needs to keep his aggressive edge we’ve seen over the last few weeks, but needs to be more disciplined against the Panthers.
- Michael Carter-Williams Giveth
Fourteen assists and zero turnovers. Let that sink in. His splendid play in the second half catalyzed SU’s offense. MCW played within himself and did not try and force passes into traffic. One thing is clear, this Seton Hall squad is not up to the standard defensively like Pittsburgh or Georgetown. Carter-Williams will be tested to play just as controlled today.
Posted: Kevin Fitzgerald