Syracuse took down Georgia Tech 80-63 to move to 6-3 in ACC play. The Yellow Jackets certainly aren’t among the ACC’s elite, having only one win in the conference. It’s a game the Orange should have won and did so rather convincingly. Let’s hand out some grades:
Joe Girard A
Girard was the only Syracuse player who showed up in the first half. He scored 18 points in the first 20 minutes and ended with 28 on 6/10 from beyond the arc and 11/21 from the field. Girard also had five rebounds, which obviously doesn’t mean much as a guard playing 20 feet away from the basket, but he at least hustled to loose balls. The senior also recorded a team high 7 assists. Girard did it all. He spearheaded a 17-0 first half run and was steady throughout.
Maliq Brown A
Another outstanding performance from the freshman. He scored 18 points, which is a new career, on 8/9 from the field and 2/2 from the line. Brown only had four rebounds, but his presence was as evident as ever. He stays around the rim, catches lob, tips in misses, and is improving defensively. He doesn’t try to be someone he’s not, which is what makes him effective. Brown’s role has grown steadily all year and there’s no reason why that can’t continue.
Benny Williams D
Eight minutes and one point. The most telling part is Williams began the second half with the starters, and was replaced by Brown a minute later. The sophomore did not reenter the game. He keeps trying to be something he’s not. Williams wants to be a small forward who’s game is centered around a perimeter shot and handling the ball. The issue is he isn’t skilled enough to do that effectively. Jim Boeheim, meanwhile, wants Williams to be a power forward who stays around the basket like Brown is, but Williams obviously doesn’t want to do that. It’s like fitting a square peg into a round hole.
Judah Mintz B
It began as a rough day for Mintz. The freshman was taken out quickly after taking too many contested shots including an ill-advised three early on. When the freshman went back in, he was more aggressive and smarter with his decision making. He ended with 13 points on 4/7 shooting and six assists. Mintz did miss four of his nine free throw attempts. Not his best game, but he was certainly effective and it was a nice bounce back after a three point performance against Miami.
Jesse Edwards B
It was a nice second half for Edwards. He had just four points at halftime and didn’t play for much of the first period. But, in the second 20 minutes, he put up 10 points and was far more assertive inside against a Georgia Tech team that isn’t physical. Edwards only grabbed seven rebounds as well. Like Mintz, not spectacular, but steady.