Connecticut outplayed Syracuse from the jump on Thursday at Madison Square Garden. The 83-76 loss is Syracuse’s first of the season (2-1). Not a lot went right outside of Jalen Carey’s scoring. These five things went wrong.
Carey’s 26 points was the only reason Syracuse stayed in the game. But he finished with zero assists and six turnovers. Battle led the Orange with just four helpers. Total assists were 22-10 in favor of UConn. This speaks to how this offense is playing. It is predominantly isolation. At some point that needs to change. Frank Howard is still not practicing, so Syracuse can’t wait for him to come to the rescue.
This was Head Coach Jim Boeheim’s main issue with SU’s performance on the night. The Huskies nabbed 13 offensive rebounds.
“We have to have our centers show up,” Boeheim said, “Paschal let the guy, 6′ 7″ guy, just take it to him and absolutely destroy us in there.”
3. Ball Pressure
Connecticut did what Morehead State did to Syracuse. The Huskies picked up ball pressure in full court and ball denied simultaneously. It’s a tough spot for a ball-handler to be in. Jalen Carey struggled with it in the first half especially. Tyus Battle managed to protect the ball, but couldn’t punish defenders for playing up on him. The off-ball pressure seemed to force SU into playing a lot of isolation. Elijah Hughes, Oshae Brissett and Battle coud never get it going one-on-one.
4. Three-point disparity
Jalen Adams and Alterique Gilbert both hit NBA-range threes on back-to-back possessions to put the game out of reach for UConn. Nobody possessed that marksmanship for Syracuse. Not even close. SU went 6-22. That’s bad, but here’s what’s even worse: that is Syracuse’s best percentage of the season (27.3%).
5. Too Late by Battle
He got it going eventually, but Battle didn’t attack for the first thirty minutes of the game. It was alarming to see him get passive. Usually, even when Battle struggles, he has an aggressive mentality.The three-point shot still isn’t there. Battle went 1-5 from distance.