Syracuse is back in the win column. Sure, the win comes against one of, if not the worst team in the ACC in Pittsburgh. But a win is a win! The Orange looked vulnerable in the first half, escaping with just a one point lead at the break, but turned it on in the second to secure a 77-61 win. With the victory, SU is back to .500 at 8-8 with 14 games left.
Despite it being a fairly comfortable win, there were positives and there were negatives for the Orange. So, let’s break out the handy dandy Fizz Report Card to give some grades.
Joe Girard – C-
It’s time. It’s time to start considering Joe Girard’s minutes. I’m not making the argument that he should be pulled from the starting lineup or he shouldn’t play in crunch time, but he shouldn’t be playing 25+ minutes a game. Yet again, Girard struggled offensively. He only scored eight points, shot just 0-3 from deep and tallied four fouls. I mean come on…
Plus, the offense just doesn’t move as well with Girard running the point. He is a better fit at the shooting guard role. Slide him down, put Symir in and push Buddy to the three.
Buddy Boeheim – A-
Buddy is Buddy; there’s not much else to say. He is the guy that 90% of the time will lead the team in scoring and sprinkle in some assists and rebounds. Against Pitt, Mr. Buckets poured in 24 points and was uber efficient going 7-13 from the field and 5-8 from deep. Boeheim was the guy SU went to when the shot clock was low and he came off screens with a purpose Tuesday night.
Cole Swider – C
This was one of the worst performances from Swider. Statistically he only had 10 points and 2 rebounds; plus he shot 4-10 from the field and 0-4 from three. The eye test didn’t help Cole either. Swider was a step behind all night and didn’t crash the glass like he usually does. Rebounding is Swider’s most helpful attribute, so when he doesn’t do that, he isn’t very useful.
Jimmy Boeheim – B+
Jimmy played his role yet again versus Pittsburgh. He is the second best scorer on the team and a solid rebounder. Boeheim’s 18 points and seven rebounds backs those claims up. He was physical on the inside and got to the line a couple times. Watching Jimmy specifically during any given possession is a workout for your eyes. He is always the most active player on the court, which bails out Syracuse a lot when his teammates are lackadaisical.
Jesse Edwards – B
Edwards was tasked with the biggest challenge of the game — guarding Pitt’s best player, John Hugley. The big man averaged 16 points a contest going in, and Jesse held him to half of that total. Plus, he had three blocks defensively. On the other end, Jesse finished around the net, set solid screens and grabbed rebounds. You can see his confidence grow, especially in the pick and roll.
Two things held Jesse back from a better grade. For one, Edwards fouled out for the fifth straight game. The last foul came in trash time, so it didn’t matter that much, but he needs to figure out how to defend without fouling. The other issue for Edwards against Pitt was his free throw shooting. Jesse only hit four of ten free throws. They’re free, you have to hit them.
Symir Torrence – A-
It is evident how much smoother and quicker the offense runs with Torrence at the point rather than Girard. He’s not as good of a scorer, but he is fast, runs the pick and roll well, and knows how to set up his teammates. Buddy, Edwards and Jimmy were all getting better looks with Torrence on the court. His numbers don’t jump off the page, but his impact is felt. This was one of Symir’s best games this season.
The Rest – B-
In classic Jim Boeheim fashion, the bench was not used much against Pittsburgh. After a couple solid games, Benny Williams only saw four minutes, the same amount as John Bol Ajak. Frank Anselem also played, but for only seven minutes. The three of them looked fine, especially Ajak and Anselem on the boards. However, they were so under utilized it’s difficult to give them anything better than a B-.
Syracuse’s next game is this Saturday, January 15 at 3 PM in the Dome against Florida State, a team the Orange beat 63-60 earlier this season.