Once again a good fight, but once again not enough. That’s been Syracuse’s story at the Maui Invitational in the loss to Tennessee yesterday and in a 76-57 defeat at the hands of Gonzaga today, securing a date with presumably Chaminade at 9:30 tomorrow night. It was a game that didn’t get lopsided until the end- SU was within striking distance fairly well into the second half, until it wasn’t. Back to the gradebook we go:
JUDAH MINTZ: A
When it looked like Gonzaga might run away with the game, a few moments of individual brilliance from SU’s floor general got it back in the game. Mintz tallied 22 points on 9-14 shooting and had two of the Orange’s three makes from distance, with crazy acrobatic layups throughout the contest. If it weren’t for Mintz’s heroics, this game would’ve been a blowout much sooner.
JJ STARLING: B
Besides Mintz’s heroics, Starling’s second half explosiveness was a bright spot from this one. The Notre Dame transfer finished with 15 points and six rebounds. The one assist is a step in the wrong direction and he has to be better shooting the three-pointer, but if Starling is clicking offensively at the same time as Mintz, that’s troublesome for the opposition.
CHRIS BELL: F
The “keep shooting” mantra is understandable, but it did not work out in Bell’s favor at all today. After two straight hot games, the California native was just 2-18 from the field today with six points. Getting a technical foul late doesn’t do any favors as well.
JUSTIN TAYLOR: D
We lauded Taylor yesterday for finding ways to contribute when he wasn’t scoring. The not scoring part was a factor today, but this time around he wasn’t contributing. For the first time all season, Taylor was kept off the glass in addition to posting another 0-3 from three-point range. There’s been inconsistencies for Taylor on the offensive end this year, let’s hope those resolve while he doesn’t grow inconsistencies rebounding the basketball.
NAHEEM MCLEOD: D
Gonzaga’s Graham Ike is easily the best big man McLeod has gone up against this season, and it looked like they were in two completely different tiers. Ike tallied 16 points and 14 rebounds and McLeod looked flustered on the defensive end all night long. Is this going to be the norm once he starts seeing the likes of Kyle Filipowski and PJ Hall in ACC play? McLeod will always have potential at 7-4, but that was a very discouraging performance.
Benny Williams was MIA. Kyle Cuffe wasn’t as potent a scorer as he’s shown the potential to be. Maliq Brown was fine. Quadir Copeland had a very erratic day. Mounir Hima…
had this happen. Absolutely bonkers, and it contributed to a not-so-great day from the SU reserves.
ADRIAN AUTRY: C
The same issues that have been popping up early in Autry’s first season popped up again today. An inability to play a full 40 minutes, defensive instabilities (especially at the center position), and at times an erratic offense. There’s no reason to panic yet since we’re so early on and two losses have been to two top-11 teams, nonetheless it’s still disconcerting.