Regardless of the struggles Syracuse fans have been groaning about for the first half of this season, the Orange got it done tonight with a 70-55 win against Miami. While pregame hopes seemed simply to wish that SU would make it out of the Carrier Dome alive tonight, postgame conversation now turns to how Syracuse (astonishingly) pulled an upset and got their first conference win in what was arguably the Orange‚Äôs best performance this season.
Syracuse scored the first points of the game but then lost the lead. After getting back on top 23-21 with 8:06 left in the first half, SU did not look back, holding the lead through the final buzzer.
Andrew White III was again the star for the Orange tonight. He lead the team with 22 points and 10 rebounds. He also led the team with four three-point field goals.
White III set the tone early, opening the night‚Äôs scoring with a shot from the top of the key. Tyus Battle scored next for SU from the same location, followed by field goals from White III again and Taurean Thompson from that same spot.
Tyler Lydon played a huge role in tonight‚Äôs game, something that has been missing from games so far this season.
While Lydon did not score until 11 minutes into the game when he hit a three-pointer off a pass from John Gillon, he ended the game with 20 points on the night. He also grabbed seven boards and had a steal.
Aside from the statistics, Lydon also added energy to the game and sparked the crowd with a pair of dunks. Lydon‚Äôs presence in tonight‚Äôs game was reminiscent of his active performance in last season‚Äôs NCAA Tournament Final Four run, a long-awaited break from his so far quiet 2016-2017 play.
In the postgame press conference, Coach Boeheim said that he thought every Syracuse player was more active on the court tonight than in the games leading up to this one.
‚ÄúThis is the first game that we really played every play,‚Äù Boeheim said.
Before the game, some posts mentioned that it would be important for Syracuse to block the three point line against Miami, whether it be to block Miami‚Äôs three-point shooting or to make Miami primarily shoot threes, which the Hurricanes have not been proficient at over the past year and a half. While Miami only averaged six three-point shots made per game heading into tonight, the Hurricanes hit six threes within the first 12 minutes of tonight‚Äôs game. Miami made 11 threes on the night on 26 attempts (42.3%).
In the second half of the game, Miami brought the ball closer to the basket than in the first half where the Hurricanes featured longer shots. The Hurricanes ended the game with 20 points in the paint, comparable to Syracuse‚Äôs 22.
Miami‚Äôs DJ Vasiljevic led the Hurricanes in scoring against SU with a season high 18 points.
White III and Battle played the full 40 minutes for the Orange while Lydon and Gillon missed just one minute each. Tyler Roberson played 35 minutes. Boeheim said in the postgame press conference that if the Orange continues to win, he plans to continue leaving players in for nearly the full game.
And as Boeheim said in the postgame press conference, the Orange played better tonight, but there is still work to be done.
Syracuse turned the ball over 15 times in tonight‚Äôs game, many of which were a result of bad passing. SU once tried to throw the ball down the court, only to watch it sail over everyone‚Äôs heads into the seats behind the basket. Other passes were simply misplaced or picked off by the Hurricanes.
There certainly is plenty of time left this year for the Orange to either return to its struggling ways or build on the strengths SU showed tonight. For now, this win against Miami is finally a step in the right direction for Syracuse and something positive for the Syracuse fans and players to now have behind them.
Said Boeheim: ‚ÄúThis was a very good first step, but it‚Äôs just one step. We‚Äôve got a lot to do.‚Äù