Syracuse earned a huge bounce back win over NC State in PNC Arena. The Orange played arguably its best game of the season, certainly the most complete effort thus far. SU shot 46% from the field and 47% from beyond the arc with three scorers in double digits. Syracuse also checked off each of our three keys to game. Without further adieu, let’s get into some grading.
Coach Boeheim: A
Look, Coach was locked in tonight. He said he made adjustments to the zone to help plug up the middle where NC State wanted to expose SU. Safe to say those worked. The Orange forced 20 turnovers, several of which resulted from opportunities to trap and get aggressive. Additionally, Coach B must’ve been scrolling through our twitter because we were begging and pleading for Kadary to play… and he did! Coach knew the right times to insert Richmond and did a good job rotating through the guards.
Alan Griffin: A+
Griffin was phenomenal tonight. He was high energy, he was loose, and created havoc in the zone. The Illinois transfer blocked a shot, secured a pair of steals, and was active all night defensively. He also led SU with 22 points, shooting 4-7 from deep. Arguably Griffin’s best performance in a Syracuse uniform.
Quincy Guerrier: B
It wasn’t a stat stuffing night for Guerrier, he fouled out and all, but the sophomore made big plays in the the games most important moments. The Candyman had some huge battles for offensive rebounds (which he won) and scored some key baskets. In fact, Guerrier had five offensive rebounds… part of his 14 point, 7 rebound stat line. Not Guerrier’s best performance, but he played a major role in SU leaving Raleigh with the win tonight.
Marek Dolezaj: A
Dolezaj and Griffin were the only SU players to log all 40 minutes in tonight’s game… that should tell you something. If you simply look at the box score it looks like Doly was a non-factor but that’s not the case. Dolezaj was huge on the defensive end and battled for rebounds all night. Whether or not he got them is besides the point, he’s giving 110% for all 40 minutes, every night.
Joe Girard: C
This isn’t a slight to JG3 as much as it is a testament to the upside of Kadary Richmond. Girard played just 20 minutes tonight compared to Richmond’s 25. He didn’t look bad, but he didn’t look good and that’s the thing. Richmond brings more to the table than Girard and transforms SU into a different specimen when he’s on the floor. Girard will still play going forward, there seems to be a three guard rotation now and he’ll be able to work off-ball more. Quite a difference a year makes, this time last year he lit up the Pack for 30 points… as a true freshman.
Buddy Boeheim: B+
Boeheim had a good night on the offensive end of the floor. The junior scored 16 points on 3-5 shooting from deep and 50% shooting from the field. However, he’s still struggling on the defensive end. There are times where you see the instincts that Richmond has and the space he’s able to cover and Buddy just can’t do those things. But that’s okay! It’s not part of his game, but that’s the only thing keeping him from an A tonight, his defense.
Kadary Richmond: A
Yes, the one you’ve all been waiting for. The true freshman was spectacular. He came in off the bench and immediately provided a spark with three steals in a matter of minutes, and some flashy passing as well. He finished with 8 points, 3 assists, and 3 steals. What might be the best stat on the sheet though…. 25 minutes of action! Coach B played Richmond for 25 minutes, more than Girard’s 20, and that’s how it needs to be! You saw why tonight, this youngin’ is special and can win this team some games down the stretch.
Robert Braswell: B
Braswell checked in late in the contest when Guerrier fouled out and contributed. Known as a shooter, Braswell hit a three and converted two free throws in the final minute. He played 5 minutes and continued to find ways to pitch in off the bench.
There ya have it! SU moves to 11-6, 5-5 in the ACC. SU completes the sweep of NC State and looks ahead to another sweep opportunity against Boston College this weekend. The Orange and the Eagles tipoff at 2 on Saturday, be sure to catch our Fizz Cast Preview before the weekend matinee!