Orange Fizz


Justin Taylor’s Roller Coaster Season Takes Another Turn

Photo courtesy of @CuseMBB on X

Syracuse staved off Notre Dame for its second consecutive win on Saturday, 88-85 on Jim Boeheim Day. Every Syracuse starter scored in double figures, and that includes Justin Taylor’s 10 points, which all came off back cuts and layups at the rim (including two and-1’s) off of feeds from Maliq Brown on the perimeter. It was good to see Taylor put the ball in the basket, as this was only the second time he’s scored 10 points in 2024, the only other being the Wake Forest blowout on February 3rd. After the game, Adrian Autry had a strong defense of his starting wing after what has been two months of criticism from fans.

“He has toughness. He shows up everyday,” Autry said via “As a coach, those are the guys you pull for. I’ll say this right now. I’ll take a bullet, I don’t care what any of you guys say. I’m with these guys everyday. Everyday. He’s a young man that is trying to help us win. He does everything I ask him to. When you have players like that, I don’t care what you say, those are the guys I stick with. Because they show up everyday. Justin Taylor is an everyday guy. In this game, you are going to go through some stuff. He never quit. Just kept battling. That’s what should be talked about. Nothing else.”

Autry is starting to become more and more impassioned in postgame press conferences, but he does a good job of keeping things loose as well. He often cracks a smile if it permits or makes a joke, but if he wants to be stern, he certainly can be, like he was Saturday and like he was after the Wake game a few weeks ago. For Taylor, getting that support from his head coach was really important for him.

“It means a lot coming from him,” The sophomore said via “He’s been in the same position I’ve been in. Each player has their struggles. It means a lot having him in my corner and supporting me no matter what.”

Taylor’s shooting percentages are down to 34% from the field and 30% from three-point range, after he shot 38% from the field and 39% from three as a freshman. His role has certainly changed, and it’s clear moving forward he is best in a reserve role where he can come off the bench and not have to guard up a position from the opening tip.

“It’s been tough. It’s been a hard season for me offensively,” Taylor said postgame via “I’m just trying to stay level-headed. Credit to the coaching staff. They’ve been sticking with me. They have been in my corner. My family, my mom especially, and my sister. They don’t care if I have a good game or bad game.”

With Syracuse being a long shot to make the NCAA Tournament, performances like Saturday’s from Taylor are going to be needed if the Orange want any chance of March Madness, and that starts with Virginia Tech on Tuesday night. Winning more than two games in a row for the first time since December would be a good idea, especially when you are favored to win each of the next two contests. Taylor could potentially be a big part of the final stretch of SU’s season.

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.


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