Conference meltdown after conference meltdown. Syracuse snuck under .500 today with a disheartening loss in overtime to Wake Forest. The game was a seesaw affair which turned in the Demon Deacon’s direction after Jesse Edwards fouled out midway through the second half. The Orange made a push down the stretch and actually had a two-point lead with 11 seconds remaining. However, SU turned over an inbounds pass and gave up an easy dunk on the resulting possession to lead to the extra five minutes.
The OT went Wake’s way, as Steve Forbes’s team attacked the baseline and short corners with Jimmy Boeheim at the center spot. With under 10 seconds left, Syracuse had a chance to tie the game at 77, but the Orange had no plan out of a timeout, Buddy chucked up a super-contested three, and Cole Swider missed at the buzzer to make the fat lady sing.
As the Fizz does, it’s time to break out the trusty report cards to grade SU’s performance.
Joe Girard: C-
Girard started out hot, leading the Orange early with nine points, but jacked a ridiculous three midway through the first half and didn’t do anything else afterwards. JG3 was 0-6 in the second half, and didn’t score in overtime. He had seven assists and four turnovers. Girard’s 26-point performance was great against Miami, but he has to be able to sustain his scoring. Joe did make a great hustle play late in the game, stealing the ball away from Isaiah Mucius to lead to a Cole Swider layup, but that’s not enough considering the lack of contribution otherwise.
Jimmy Boeheim: A-
Another solid performance from SU’s anchor. 15 of Jimmy’s 21 points came in the second half, and he was stuck playing center for the back end of the ballgame. He did commit three turnovers in the latter 20 minutes of regulation, but again, he’s 6-foot-8 and playing the five against a conference opponent.
Buddy Boeheim: C-
Buddy got a couple of big buckets down the stretch, but for most of the game, he was nowhere to be found. He made five of 20 shots. For 17 points. This is the Buddy we saw for the majority of last season, and it’s not enough to power the Orange to victory. Both Buddy and Joe also are getting marked down because the top of the zone was as tough as tissue paper for the whole game.
Cole Swider: D+
Besides grabbing rebounds (and forgetting to box out at times) Cole Swider hasn’t done a whole lot for SU. The Orange needed a sharpshooting, assertive get in the portal, and instead they got a tentative player who looks lost at times on defense. Swider needs coaching big time, and needs sets to get him involved in the offense.
Jesse Edwards: B+
If he didn’t foul out, he’d be in the A range. Keep in mind, Edwards probably only committed two or three actual fouls (thanks, TV Teddy!) But Edwards continues to be a difference maker for Syracuse, recording the highest +/- (10) of any SU player when on the floor. He only had one block today, but Wake didn’t attack the paint until Jesse was saddled with two fouls.
Benny Williams: B
Benny is starting to find his groove. His shot isn’t perfect, but he’s taking open looks, whether they be threes or 17-footers (he should have license for both), and we know the kind of impact Williams can have on the defensive end. It’s hard to blame any of SU’s struggles on the freshman.
Symir Torrence: D+
Five minutes of run, one turnover, zero impact. That about sums up Symir Torrence’s season.
Frank Anselem: D+
What does it say about a player when the starter fouls out, and the coach refuses to play the backup until absolutely necessary? There’s no rhyme or reason to this. When Anselem got in the game, he wasn’t a deer in the headlights, but he didn’t make any sort of impact. Wake continued to attack the rim, and the 6-foot-11 center didn’t block a single shot.
There are 10 seconds left, and you have a team full of shooters. Your inbounds play has to be better than “let’s throw it to Buddy and hope.” The 2-3 Zone is getting torched by skip passes all game. You have to adjust. The 1-3-1 might’ve worked in the non-con, but right now, Jim Boeheim is on the losing end of these games because he refuses to adjust. Oh, and by the way, Kadary Richmond scored 25 points today for Seton Hall.