Well, that was not what the Orange had in mind.
Syracuse escaped defeat by St. Francis Brooklyn in a close game at the Carrier Dome, beating the Terriers 56-50. DaJuan Coleman led the Orange in scoring with 14 points, tying a career high. Jerami Grant also had a few big takeaways and scores down the stretch to avoid a major upset so early in the season. C.J. Fair, who is supposed to be the leader of the team, struggled mightily, going 2-of-13 from the field.
The most interesting tidbit sitting in on the post-game press conference was Jim Boeheim’s assessment of Tyler Ennis:
“I think Tyler really struggled tonight. Before he was playing and just making the play. Now he’s thinking I’m going to go and shoot. He has not made those plays at all. Now he is doing things that you would expect a freshman to do. He is trying to do some things when he should really just make the pass.”
After the game, Ennis said, “We knew we had time. We made our run with about 3:00 left. We had time to take control of the game.” When asked about the similarities between this game and the overtime win against Carleton, he continued:
“That game and this game, we had confidence even though we were down. We have confidence that we are going to make plays and make stops that are going to bring us back into the game. I think if we play with that urgency from the beginning we will be better off.”
Ennis is clearly a work-in-progress with a lot of potential. Although he went 1-of-8, Ennis only had two turnovers on the night. Having a low turnover ratio is something positive for Ennis to build off of this game. He also has to do a better job of figuring out when to dish the ball instead of taking it to the hoop.
Boeheim tried to put Ennis’s play in perspective:
“He is a freshman. He has a lot of work ahead of him. He will play better but he will have games like this. They all do. Michael Carter-Williams went 3-17 more than a couple of times. That is what happens. He will make better decisions.”
At the post-game press conference, some were concerned with how the Orange are playing against teams they should be taking care of easily. “We know they were going to play us tough. These teams have players that can hurt us in the zone,” Ennis replied.
Syracuse will be playing teams that can hurt them worse in the zone than St. Francis Brooklyn. Indiana will be visiting the Dome after the Maui Invitational in a few weeks. How will this team make adjustments to fix the problems that have haunted them these past few weeks? Maui will be an interesting test.
And with all of the success of young players this season across the country (Randle, Wiggins, Parker), top-flight freshman are expected to produce earlier than ever before. Let’s see if Ennis can push past the growing pains and help run a smooth offense.
Posted by: Zephan Mayell
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