After Tuesday’s loss, Syracuse needed a big bounce-back game tonight. With March approaching and the chatter of the ACC being a three or even two-bid league, games like this are must-win for Syracuse. The Orange rose to the occasion today, leading by 16 at halftime and controlling the action the rest of the way.
JJ Starling: A+
The past three games have been interesting to say the least for the local kid. JJ Starling looked really solid against Pittsburgh. A game later, he had maybe the best showing of his career with six three’s against Miami. Then against FSU, Starling scored 10 and went 0-5 from three. Tonight, he looked like he did against Pitt and Miami. Starling was confident shooting the ball and did a great job of helping facilitate the offense.
Chris Bell: A
Chris Bell has had a stretch similar to JJ recently. Before the Florida State game, he went four games in a row in double figures. After struggling Tuesday, Bell found his stride once again. He wasn’t just effective shooting threes. The breakaway windmill dunk almost blew the roof off the dome. The energy that brought to the Dome was well worth the technical foul.
Judah Mintz: B
Another really interesting game for Judah Mintz. Similar to Miami, Mintz struggled to finish from the field. But, he was super effective moving the ball around and had a couple of silky smooth assists. While Judah is still of course at his best when he can finish around the rim, he’s started to show how special he can be in playmaking. At the end of the day though, Mintz is best when he can take over games and he just didn’t do that tonight. But even then, his effort can’t be forgotten. Of course, you can’t mention Mintz without talking about the night he had at the charity stripe. For the 8th time this year, he went to the line more than 10 times.
The Dome Atmosphere: B
There were some times tonight when the Dome almost exploded. The students showed up for the annual “blizzard game” but as usual, most sat for a large part of the game. The most frustrating thing is the lack of communication between the athletic department and Otto’s Army. The white-out would be so much cooler if the whole dome got involved and not just the students sitting behind one basket.
Benny Williams: B+
Benny Williams had another interesting game in what has been a very interesting season for the junior. He scored in double figures for just the second time this season and had a few big time dunks. Williams didn’t take over the game at any points like SU fans hope he would but still, double digits is by no means something to complain about.
Free Throw Shooting: F
It may not have mattered much at the end of the day but the Orange have to be better from the line. This game was on the edge of getting a little too close for comfort with about five minutes left and that would have never happened if the ‘Cuse made its free shots.