There’s a lot to wrap your head around after last night’s 107-96 overtime win over Buffalo. On the positive side, Quincy Guerrier’s 27 points and 11 boards, Kadary Richmond’s game-changing effect in the second half and Alan Griffin’s takeover in crunch time. On the not-so-positive side, Joe Girard was cold again, SU as a team was 3-19 from behind the arc and the Orange looked completely outmatched in the first half.
It was just another rollercoaster ride for Cardiac ‘Cuse, but the book is still out until Jim Boeheim’s squad reaches conference play. By the way, Boeheim was chippy in the postgame presser (which seems normal at this point in time).
Let’s get to some questions.
SU got anything it wanted against Boston College. Almost every three was wide open (that’s why 16 of them fell through the net). This week, it’s been a different story. Northeastern made it a priority to close out on Syracuse’s shooters, and forced a lot of tough attempts from behind the arc.
Last night, Buffalo thwarted the Orange behind the arc for two reasons. First, similarly to Northeastern, the Bulls closed out aggressively. UB was extremely active on the defensive end, and never left Girard or Boeheim to help, face-guarding them for the majority of the game. Buffalo was fine with forcing Syracuse to drive to the cup. Also, SU struggled to play at its favorite breakneck pace. In the first half, since Buffalo scored at will, Syracuse constantly had to create buckets in the half-court. The Orange shooters are best when spotting up in transition. Things changed in the second half because the tempo changed.
Well, Buddy certainly led the team in shot attempts. Young Boeheim was 8-24 from the field and 0-5 from deep. It was as quiet of a 22 point performance as I’ve seen in a long time. He had a 20-minute cold stretch, going scoreless from the 15:04 mark in the first half to the 16:14 mark in the second.
Alan Griffin and Quincy Guerrier should be the main options going forward. Guerrier knows how to manufacture buckets, whether it’s finding space in the paint or hitting the occasional three. Griffin seems to be streaky, just like Boeheim and Girard, but has the ability to get in the lane and create, something that the other two don’t.
The Richmond vs Girard debate rages on. Surprisingly enough, I’m with Jim Boeheim here. It’s worth it to start Girard, because when he’s on, he’s on. Remember, he started slow last year, and got better and better throughout ACC play. However, if he’s missing early, Richmond can be subbed in, and the freshman can be trusted on the defensive end no matter how well he plays on offense. The consensus: start Girard, but with a quick hook.