It was one they had to have, and they had it. Syracuse rebounded (pun intended) from an embarrassing loss to Colgate with a convincing 76-48 win over Northeastern Saturday night inside the JMA Wireless Dome. The offense had far more cohesion, the defensive closeouts were much improved, it was a very encouraging game. That said, let’s hand out some grades.
JOE GIRARD: A
JG3 lived up to his nickname and then some with five of them tonight. He only needed nine attempts to get there too, which makes it look even better. Not to mention, his chemistry with his teammates shined through tonight. But you’d like to see him work a little more on ball security. Two turnovers is nothing terrible for one of the team’s primary ball-handlers, but this was Northeastern. It has to be better against the cream of the crop in the ACC. Regardless, Girard looked very good tonight.
JUDAH MINTZ: A
Mintz continues to impress. His athleticism is at a ridiculously high level, and it showed in how easily he penetrated the paint time and time again tonight. The variety of ways Mintz got inside to get his 18 points tonight was a wonder to witness. Just one thing though. Shooting 40% from the charity stripe as a point guard doesn’t impress many. That’s why it’s not an A+ for Mintz, but still a very impressive performance.
JESSE EDWARDS: A
Similarly to Girard, the turnover number is what keeps Edwards from an A+. This may be harsh, but two turnovers is too many for someone who rarely handles the ball if ever. But putting that aside, the Flying Dutchman’s performance tonight was fantastic. 19 points and 7 rebounds on 8-10 shooting is nothing to scoff at. He also played the game with more force tonight. SU needs more of this from Edwards heading into Brooklyn.
BENNY WILLIAMS: D+
Tonight was a disaster and then some for Williams. He didn’t score until garbage time, he looked absolutely dreadful handling the ball, and got into a scuffle with a few Huskies. Williams received a technical for that and found himself on the bench as soon as the dust settled from that. It’s been two really bad games and one really good game for the Maryland native so far. That is not a recipe for success come ACC play. Simply put, Williams has to be better, or his chances in the 315 might run out.
CHRIS BELL: F
For the second straight game, Bell was practically nonexistent. In just eight minutes of action, SU’s starting SF failed to record a bucket, and Boeheim opted to give Maliq Brown (more on him below) and Quadir Copeland more minutes in his place. When you’re as big and athletic as Bell is, that level of output is unacceptable, especially against a Northeastern team that ranked 254th in KenPom at the time of writing. Bell has a lot to prove in Brooklyn.
MALIQ BROWN: A-
Earlier in the week we wrote about how Brown is a big piece of this team. He proved it tonight. His stats may not be eye-popping, but he got north of 20 minutes on the floor. The reason for that? Hustle. Every which way you looked, he was crashing the block to snag the rebound and diving after loose balls. Plays like that go a long way, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise if Brown is the sixth-man full-time going forward.