A Tale of Two-Halves
It was hard to recognize Syracuse out of the locker room compared to the first half. Jim Boeheim kicked the scorer’s table in the waning moments before halftime and his team put their feet on the gas on the defensive end. Eleven second-half steals led to 15 fast break points. Of course, with SU running in open space, the ball movement improved. Syracuse had 10 assists to Drexel’s four.
Girard can’t miss
Joe Girard is a perfect 8-8 from beyond the arc this season. That’s the best shooting start to a season in program history. Syracuse fans know all too well that this won’t continue at this rate. Eventually the shot will dry up, and the variable becomes how much will Girard contribute without the deep ball threat. Until then, enjoy the ride.
Cole Swider might be the best passer on this team
That might be hard to hear, but the sharpshooter seemed to be the saving grace when the ball stalled, which was often when Symir Torrence was running the point guard spot. Swider had four assists, and showed his paint penetration ability when he had to. That will change if his shots stop falling, but his range is stretching out the defense, and opening up the floor for himself.
As the Zone goes, so does the offense
Syracuse scored 16 of the first 22 points in the second half thanks to four Drexel turnovers in the first four and a half minutes and 11 points in transition. If the Orange don’t have a true sure-handed point guard, then fast break points are going to be the backbone of the offense. At any given time, there will be four shooters on the floor. None of that matters if the ball doesn’t move. It turns out the 2-3 Zone is the best point guard this team has.
The Flying Dutchman can really fly
This was one of the best games Jesse Edwards ever played, defensively. There were plenty of flaws, but that’s going to happen when size is still an issue. Edwards had four blocks, and was integral in SU’s 8-0, 16-6 start in the second half. The denials are impressive, but his closeouts on corner threes were even more eye-opening. It sounds silly, but the center is best outside the paint when he can use his length and hide his lack of size.
Depth is officially a problem
It’s not too surprising that Benny Williams is often getting the quick freshman-hook. Sometimes his struggles are ignored by fans after volleyball-like blocks into the fifth row. Frank Anselem was abused under the rim. Symir Torrence showed very little floor awareness when in for Joe Girard. Expect another year of shallow rotations for this season, and for good reason. There is an obvious drop off when Boeheim dips into the bench. It will be even more obvious come ACC play.
Jimmy is the best shot-creator on this team
He’s not the quickest on the team, far from it. But Jimmy Boeheim is an elite mid-range shooter, like his younger brother. The difference is that he has two inches and 20 pounds on Buddy. The Cornell transfer used his body really well to create space when there wasn’t much ball movement, and he doesn’t need much space either. That’s why Boeheim had 14 points, only three of them coming from beyond the arc. The turnarounds and hook shots are nearly impossible to contest. So, next time the ball stops with five seconds on the shot clock and you’re yelling at the TV, yell for Jimmy to get the ball in the high post.