Syracuse held off Cornell 81-70 last night. Beyond the final score, here are the top numbers to know from the game.
The Orange out-rebounded the Big Red 45-42, with the rebounding margin finishing at just three, in favor of SU. Cornell’s tallest player is just 6’10”, while Syracuse starts 7’4” center Naheem McLeod. That just doesn’t add up, no matter how you slice it.
A height advantage can only do so much. SU’s positioning isn’t great. It hasn’t boxed out well. Some players don’t seem to put a lot of effort into rebounding. Unless multiple of these factors change, the Orange could sit at the bottom of the ACC’s rebounding rankings.
The amount of times Chris Bell and Justin Taylor have scored 15 or more points on the same night. That’s right, yesterday against Cornell was the first time. Bell had 19, while Taylor scored 15.
The duo of wings has gotten close before. In a loss to Bryant last season, Taylor put up a career-high 26 points, but Bell fell just short with 14 points.
Last night’s game kind of felt like seeing a double rainbow with SU’s offensive production from the wings. Getting 30 or more points from that position would be huge in conference play.
Kyle Cuffe’s +/- last night was -8. He was the only member of the Orange to not break into positive numbers, with Maliq Brown’s +/- of 1 being the closest.
Cuffe saw 15 minutes of action, which is above average for him. However, his time wasn’t very productive, scoring two points on 1/5 shooting.
The guard’s role isn’t very clear moving forward, especially if Chance Westry gets healthy and takes over the third spot in the backcourt. Yesterday’s performance doesn’t give Cuffe a great argument to get on the floor more.
Benny Williams didn’t get a single minute of playing time against the Big Red. He warmed up and was in uniform, but threw a warmup shirt on at some point during the first half. Later on, the junior was seen pretending to shoot without a ball during timeouts, while the rest of the team was paying attention.
After the game, head coach Adrian Autry inferred that Williams couldn’t help SU.
“I played the guys I thought could help us win,” said Autry.
No one knows for sure what’s going on between Williams and the program, but it’s not a good look for either side.