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Fizz Report Card: Syracuse Evades Early Trouble, Eases Past Monmouth 86-71

With all the excitement on campus, and in the JMA Dome on the Syracuse men’s soccer team, which won the national championship, by the way, it was easy for Syracuse basketball to feel they could slow-play Monmouth, kenpom’s 327th-ranked team out of 363 squads coming into Monday night. But, a first-half offensive explosion put a damper on that, but thanks to Ian McIntyre’s squad pulling out the title in penalties on the jumbotron at halftime, the Orange showed why they’re SU and the Hawks are Monmouth, picking up the intensity and winning its 4th straight game to improve to 7-4. Let’s see how everyone graded out.

Joe Girard III: B

In the first half, Joe shot the ball well, but his defense at the top of the zone was lackluster, to say the least, and provided Monmouth with a lot of good looks from three, which it converted. Thankfully, Girard’s shot was falling because the Orange needed all the offense they could get. It was a classic Girard game, with decent shooting, but not really much else.

Judah Mintz: A-

His assist spree continued, with five in the first half alone. He’s not finishing great at the basket, but he’s finding teammates and he hit an open three which is great progress. He’s slowly putting all the pieces together. First, it was scoring but limited passing, now it’s a lot of great passing with a lot of missed shots. When he puts it all together, he’ll be the best player on the floor most nights regardless of opponent. Plus, his free throw shooting is much improved.

Chris Bell: C-

The rebounding is talked about every game, but it’s a pretty glaring flaw when you’re getting pushed around the paint by Monmouth. He made two threes in the first half as well, making up for his bad defense. He started the second half but was quickly replaced because he wasn’t offering much. He did not play much after that as Williams and Brown were much more active defensively and limiting Monmouth on the boards.

John Bol Ajak: B-

He offers essentially nothing offensively outside of passing, but his lack of shooting threat is very evident when he’s on the floor with another non-shooting forward like Williams. Defensively he knows exactly where to go, he just isn’t fast enough to recover and get out on shooters. He actually started the second half for Williams, then played with the sophomore as Bell went out, but clearly was gassed after five or so minutes and had to come out.

Benny Williams: B

He’s struggling offensively and got beat defensively on multiple backdoor cuts in the first half. He played a good chunk of the minutes but isn’t suited to play on the wing without a consistent jump shot. In the second half, he took a very scary fall and subsequently got an and-1 put-back layup and was fouled on a made three and converted that, giving him a huge confidence boost. Boeheim still isn’t thrilled with his rebounding, but he grabbed five tonight.

Maliq Brown: B+

He played his most significant first-half minutes of the season and played well. Nine points and three rebounds are exactly what you’re asking for, maybe more offensively than you would expect. He got in about the 12-minute mark in the second half and continued his strong play. He creates a space problem when on the floor with Williams, but it didn’t matter much when Monmouth was fouling so much.

Jesse Edwards: B+

He just was not as aggressive as he has been in previous games. Part of that is on his teammates for finding him, and on Jim Boeheim for playing three forwards who can’t shoot clogging up the paint, but he needs to demand the ball more. The big man started asserting himself defensively in the second half, and his stock total of seven (steals+blocks) showed how active he was in the middle of the zone that struggled mightily the first 25 minutes of the game.

Jim Boeheim: C+

The head coach is very confusing sometimes, especially with the lineups he ran out on the floor in the first half. Nine players entered the game before the under-12 media timeout, and none of the lineups really did anything substantial. It continues to be a game of throwing anything at the wall and seeing what sticks. He really cut down the rotation in the second half, which worked better as Syracuse established a lead and wasn’t trading buckets to start. The defense settled in, and Monmouth fouling on every possession helped SU to the double bonus with 12 minutes left in the game. It was cruise control from there, and the fourth win in a row for his team, but not a pretty one. 22-28 at the free throw line is also pretty good, nearly 80% for what that’s worth.

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.


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