The first few minutes weren’t pretty but the rest of them were. Syracuse Hoops rebounded from a tough start to get our in front of rival Georgetown and never look back. SU maintained an eleven point halftime lead and boosted it to 19 by the time the final buzzer sounded. There’s a lot to like from this win, let’s break it all down in terms of a report card with final exam season on the horizon.
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Jesse Edwards: A+
The center is on his way to earning the ACC’s most improved player award. The senior has improved astronomically from even junior year to now. Edwards logged 20 points and eleven boards to go with five swats and three assists. The 7-footer can impact the game in so many ways and was the best player on the floor today.
Joe Girard: B+
JG3 did not play well off the rip. Then the senior went to the bench and got his stuff together. Girard finished with 15 points and two of SU’s three triples. The Glens Falls native can’t afford to keep playing so inconsistently and get off to a slow start. The Orange were down 17-6 early and the better ACC teams won’t make the errors that Georgetown did today to give up the early momentum.
Judah Mintz: A-
The true freshman logged his first career double-double on 16 points and ten assists. The only knock against the former top 50 recruit is his inefficiency. Mintz was just 3-9 from the field and missed some point blank opportunities. If you predicate your game on scoring in the paint, like Judah mainly does, then you need to nail these shots with consistency. Otherwise, great distribution showing and also 10-11 showing at the free throw line is elite.
Benny Williams: B
Up-and-down day for Benny as is typically the case. Williams was yanked early and his go-to mid-range looks. Williams brought enthusiasm into the second frame and connected on some dunks. Williams still needs to improve on driving off the bounce and defending on the wing in the zone defense.
Chris Bell: C+
What is his impact for this team? Why does he start? Bell gets pulled after a couple minutes because he isn’t hitting his shots. It’s not like the true frosh is a defensive guru either. Just eight points on 2-7 shooting today including 1-3 from downtown. What does he bring to the table? Not sure.
John Bol Ajak: A
This has been fun to monitor early in the season. JBA has been a walking meme but in the best possible ways over the last few years. Now he’s making a case to be a real contributor for this time. The evergreen freshmen continue to struggle in the zone so Ajak gets in for his length and passing ability in the offensive end. The big man received 20 minutes today and was an energizer bunny for the squad with five points and a couple steals.
Justin Taylor: C
The freshman didn’t really do anything today. It’s notable that he continues to stay in the rotation but he wasn’t anything special on defense and looked shy on offense. No points in six minutes on 0-3 shooting and an airball. Still a lot to learn for Taylor, although he did flash with 25 points against Bryant a few weeks ago.
Mounir Hima: A
He’s Him! There’s little to no drop-off, at least there wasn’t today, when Edwards was on the pine in foul trouble and the transfer big man enters the game. Hima scored four points and blocked three shots in ten minutes of play which were critical in the first half when the Dutchman had infraction issues. Syracuse will definitely need the former Duquesne center down the stretch.
Symir Torrence: A
The Syracuse native has unfortunately become something of an afterthought to some, but he can’t! Torrence was critical today, especially early in providing that senior leadership and calming things down. The Marquette transfer went +11 in a dozen minutes of action this evening. Yeah, Mintz is the high upside guy but Torrence will always have the experience edge over him and is still important for what this team wants to accomplish this year.