Syracuse topped undefeated Indiana 112-110 in double overtime. The Orange played with heart, hustle, and a whole lot of offense. After a terrible showing throughout the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas, Syracuse returned to the dome and put on a show for its loyal fans. Tonight the Orange exhibited the offense that was talked about but never exemplified by this team. Scoring came from all sides, the Boeheims led the way, combining for 53. Jesse Edwards was a man possessed under the basket. The dutch big continued his rain of terror against the Hoosiers with 17 on perfect shooting. Though how could you overlook Joe Girard. Sure, the 3rd year guard blundered a few times including a costly turnover late, but his 22 point performance which included game-clinching free throws should more than make up for it. Understandably, Jim Boeheim was proud of his team, voicing his pride in the postgame press conference.
Before we go any further let’s take a gander at some of the crazy statistics this game produced:
Jesse Edwards’ Defense
Edwards manned the center position more confidently than ever before against IU. His aforementioned offense was showcased brilliantly, but it was his defense that deserves the mention. The newly beloved big contributed 5 steals alongside 3 blocks in the win. If that isn’t what’s desired from the anchor of the 2-3 zone, it’s not really clear what is. This is the season of the flying dutchman and it seems he’s just getting started.
Buddy’s 50 minutes
Buddy showed heart and hustle unlike any other on the floor tonight. The coach’s youngest son proved to the country last March that he’s a superstar, tonight he emphasized that message. 50 minutes from Buddy tonight were the difference between a win and loss. Jim Boeheim knew and made sure the media did too:
18 Orange Steals
Jesse’s defensive numbers got a mention, but the team’s do too. While Syracuse did objectively play bad defense, and we’ll get to that, their steal numbers kept them in it throughout. SU finished with a whopping 18 in the steal column. They were active on defense, which kept them in it when Indiana outrebounded them and outshot them.
Speaking of Indiana outshooting Syracuse, in the second half, the Hoosiers shot 74.1% That’s what let them back in after the Orange led by 18 at the end of the first half. The Orange defense is bad.
Though on a night like tonight, when Syracuse shoots the ball as advertised, it can win a game in which the defense doesn’t show up.
At first, it seemed like a mirage, but it was real. Syracuse transitioned from the patented 2-3 zone to a 1-1-3. Clearly, Boeheim took notes from the trip to the Bahamas and realized they aren’t quite ready to play the 2-3. With Buddy playing at the free-throw line rather than the top of the key alongside Joe Girard, rotations were more easily made inside. This did make the three ball easier to find for the Hoosiers, and we saw the effects of that from the shot of Parker Stewart who made the Orange pay plenty, shooting 6/12 from range. This is a great sign though. It means Boeheim is trying new ways to fix this team, and like it has plenty of times in the past, it worked for a while.
This is a major win, one that shows you this team will fight tooth and nail for wins against good teams. Regardless of it occurring in November, this is a resume-building win and one that should give Orange fans plenty of hope for the future of this season.