We all know Kaleb Joseph has struggled this year. He has potential, but right now it’s clear he’s not good enough to be Syracuse’s point guard. Joseph played well against Boston College last Wednesday, but then in the Orange’s 80-72 loss to Duke he went back to making the mind-numbing errors that have defined his freshman season.
Trevor Cooney shouldered a lot of blame for the Blue Devil loss because he finished 1/11 from the field in the game. That criticism is totally fair. What’s not fair is that many people are ignoring Joseph’s poor performance Saturday night. Syracuse fans have resorted to hoping Joseph just makes more plays than mistakes. Against the Blue Devils on Saturday, that didn’t happen.
The first time Joseph handled the ball in SU’s biggest game of the year he was called for a carry. Absolutely brutal. Later on, Joseph missed two wide-open threes. The first came with 2:28 on the clock in the first half and would have put Syracuse up by 11. Joseph’s other crucial miss took place with 18:43 to play and would have put SU up four. Threes aren’t his shot, but missing two wide-open looks in a game of that magnitude hurts.
With 2:11 to play in the first the mistakes continued. Joseph made an awful defensive play leading to a Justice Winslow three pointer and a stern talking to from Jim Boeheim. SU’s point guard went into Cooney’s area in the zone, meaning he was late to get to Winslow on the left wing.
Finally, with 3:18 to play in the game the Orange came up with an excellent defensive stand, but Joseph committed a non-shooting foul with three seconds to go on the shot clock. Syracuse should have had the ball being down four, but instead had to defend for another series with valuable time ticking off of the clock.
If Syracuse has a competent point guard, maybe Saturday’s game finishes differently.
Posted: Connor Morrissette