It was a tail of two halves for Syracuse in its 84-59 win over Southern Connecticut State on Monday night. The Orange quickly fell behind 11-0, and didn’t score its first points of the game until there was 15:17 left in the first half. The Orange ended the half on a 12-2 run and carried that momentum into the second half, outscoring the Owls 60-30 in the final 20 minutes.
Syracuse was unorganized in the first half on both the offensive and defensive ends. Jim Boeheim once again went to the press to try and spark his offense. It took a while, but that pressure eventually turned the momentum in the Orange’s favor. Perimeter defense was an issue early on, as Southern Connecticut State scored three consecutive three-pointers to start the day.
If the Orange wants to compete in the tough ACC, the 2-3 zone has to be better. It was allowing way too many open looks early on in the game. Also, these slow starts won’t be an option once the games start for real. It’s an effort thing. I get it though, how easy is it to get up for Southern Connecticut State on a Monday night in a game that doesn’t even count?
Anyways, it’s hard to take to much away from pre-season games. There are plenty of variables that go away once the games start for real. It’s going to take time for this team to come together. With so many new guys, success isn’t going to come overnight.
Three Who Mattered
Frank Howard: A very efficient night for the junior point guard. He finished the game with 19 points on 6-8 shooting. In the second half, Howard showed flashes of what he needs to be for Syracuse this season. If the Orange wants to be successful, Howard is going to have to be efficient and aggressive on offense. He was just that tonight.
Bourama Sidibe: He picked up right where he left off on the defensive end. Sidibe finished the game with eight points, eight rebounds, and five blocks. If he keeps this up, it won’t be long before he’s the starting center.
Tyus Battle: The sophomore guard scored 20 points, but those points didn’t come easily. Battle was just 4-15 (26.7%) in the game. This is the kind of performance you want to see from Battle. His shot wasn’t always there tonight, but his fight was. Battle was key to the comeback in the end of the first half, and that momentum carried over into the second half.
The next time the Orange take the court in the Carrier Dome, the game counts for real. Things could have gone worse in the preseason, but things certainly could have gone better. No reason to panic though, this is to be expected with such a young team.
Syracuse has three days off before it takes on Jimmy Boeheim and Cornell on Friday night.