Syracuse‚Äôs game against Boston College was expected to be nothing but a blowout.
It certainly was not.¬†When Lonnie Jackson hit a three to tie the game at 37 only¬†2:08¬†into the second half, BC was able to hold a lead until the¬†8:07¬†mark in the half when Syracuse took over for good.
Although Syracuse was flirting with its first loss of the season, it was the play of Trevor Cooney, Tyler Ennis and Jerami Grant that kept the Orange in the game and brought the outcome. Cooney finished with 21 points, but that doesn‚Äôt mean he hit seven threes. He only hit two, and after the game, he said he wanted to take simpler shots and get to the basket. That he did, and it was one of the reasons for the win.
In the loudest, and most intimidating environments like Conte Forum, Ennis kept his composure and once again, didn‚Äôt look like a freshman.
After the game, Jim Boeheim said he thought his team was as bad offensively as it had been all year. That says a lot, especially for a team that overcame the deficit it did in the environment it was in. Syracuse didn‚Äôt get the shots it needed at the right time.¬†There really was no big shot, aside from Grant‚Äôs layup with¬†8:07¬†left to put Syracuse ahead for good.¬†Grant’s elevating put-back dunk rocked the rim with 5:00 left, and sent a message of how exciting he can be to this already stacked roster.
In reality, it was Cooney and Ennis that led Syracuse in this one. It was good to see Cooney find a way to score that wasn‚Äôt just from deep. It shows he has more talent than just shooting ‚Äì he can also dunk. Ennis hasn‚Äôt cooled down a bit because he still finds a way to contribute as a freshman in a very competitive conference like the ACC.
Next up for Syracuse is a matchup with Pitt on Saturday at the Carrier Dome.
* * *
(Pregame Preview) Although the BC Eagles is 5-11 on the campaign, it has two scoring machines. Olivier Hanlan is a sophomore guard who averages just under 20 points per game. He was 4-for-7 from deep against Clemson on January 4. As long as he is aggressive in the paint, he will have a solid game. .
Ryan Anderson averages under a double-double, but not by much. He averages 15 points per game and just over seven rebounds. The Syracuse bigs will have to keep an eye on Anderson as he has the tendency to have the big game off the glass and even putting the ball in the bucket.
Syracuse is 40-23 all-time against the Eagles, and these are the keys to make the record 41-23.
Keep the ball out of Hanlan‚Äôs hands.¬†Not only is he a great shooter, but he plays similarly to Tyler Ennis. He‚Äôs fast and although he‚Äôs more of a shooter, he is not afraid to drive to the basket. Not only does Ennis have a tough task, but the Syracuse bigs have to make sure he doesn‚Äôt get to the basket. Protect the paint.
Ennis vs. Hanlan.¬†This is probably the biggest matchup. Who will play better? They have a very similar style of play, but Hanlan will take a three. He‚Äôs BC‚Äôs best option with the ball because he‚Äôs so consistent. Ennis has played against some solid guards this season, but Hanlan could be his toughest task.
Cooney needs to be back.¬†BC is 5-11 and 1-2 in the ACC. BC is not great defending the three ball, so that‚Äôs a good opportunity for Cooney to do what he does best: the catch-and-shoot three pointer. He needs to bounce back from a 1-of-8 from deep performance against UNC¬†on Saturday. He has struggled somewhat in ACC play, at least compared to how great he was in non-conference play.
Jerami Grant must be strong.¬†He has played very well since taking over for DaJuan Coleman in the lineup. He‚Äôs had a double-double in his last two games, and BC is a good team for him to keep that going.¬†If he can keep it up, perhaps Boeheim sticks with Grant in the starting lineup.
Get the win. This¬†Orange team is too dominant to fall to a struggling team like the Eagles. Syracuse has a tough, physical game ahead of it¬†on Saturday against no. 22 Pitt, and it would be great for Syracuse to get a win on the road and continue its ACC dominance.
Posted by: Austin Pollack