3-point explosion gives Syracuse blueprint for conference success

first_imgSitting in an orange, Syracuse-branded folding chair postgame with a bag of ice wrapped around each knee, Buddy Boeheim felt  the shooting performance that played out over the last two hours wasn’t unexpected.In the days ahead of Syracuse’s first game of the decade, Buddy noticed how Orange shooters — Elijah Hughes, Joe Girard III and himself — had clicked in practice. Their shots fell with ease, building off the blueprint established in nonconference play. On Saturday afternoon, after 14 3s kept the game close and the 15th brought it even closer, it was the Orange’s deep shooting that provided a glimmer.“I feel like tonight was a little bit like the Georgia Tech game,” sophomore guard Howard Washington said. “All our shots were falling.”For better or worse, Syracuse’s (8-6, 1-2 Atlantic Coast) conference play has been determined by its shooting prowess from deep. Before the contest Syracuse ranked 87th in 3-point offense per Kenpom (35.2%). Yet in conference play, they fell into the extremes. SU shooters failed miserably against Virginia (five for 29) and thrived against Georgia Tech (14 for 33). And, in a back-and-forth game of runs, the Orange almost beat Notre Dame (10-4, 1-2 ACC) the same way.Their shooting performance (48.4%) dazzled the crowd, but also presented a reality: Any hope of consistent ACC success will need more days like Saturday. But even then, as the 88-87 score in Notre Dame’s favor showed, it might not be enough.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“We played just as well as we could offensively,” Boeheim said.The Orange’s first three was sprung by forward Marek Dolezaj. He set a screen in the high post allowing Buddy to rotate over. This sparked more offensive movement, as a few more similar plays led to the Irish focusing on the curling shooter instead of the screener. While interior passes sparked SU’s first run it was the 3 that was relied on most.Sometimes the quick passes around the perimeter and the emphasized spacing were too much. In one sequence, Bourama Sidibe and Hughes bumped into each other on the baseline, and a forced pass led to a turnover. Later in the frame, Hughes called for the ball near the scorer’s table, but an off-balance feed sent the ball rolling out of bounds. Heading into a timeout, Boeheim yelled at Hughes as the ball trickled by their feet.But other instances it was the deep ball that brought SU back into the game. After a thunderous block from freshman Quincy Guerrier, Hughes swished a 3 for his first make. Then in the halfcourt – Hughes drawing attention after a 10-3 personal run – the Orange ran a familiar three-man action with Hughes, Dolzeaj and Buddy. With the forward at the top of the offense, he’d trigger a pass to a posting player while the third leaked to the corner in front of Notre Dame bench.Buddy cashed one such 3, and again it opened up more action. After an SU offensive rebound, blue jerseys crashed to the corner while Dolezaj worked inside. The second half saw each side continue to shoot from deep. Notre Dame connected on 15 of its own 3s and four-straight possessions ended in open 3s from each side.And as dynamic as SU’s 3-point shooting was, it was still it’s only reliable option for offense. On a 3-on-1 fastbreak down the stretch after a failed Notre Dame alley-oop, Buddy missed an open Hughes and instead tossed the ball out of bounds. Hughes walked across halfcourt with his hands on his head.After Girard converted over Prentiss Hubb — who earned a technical after stepping over Girard minutes earlier — Girard threw his hands in the air to wave on the crowd. At times, Washington said postgame, coaches will push Girard to shoot more. He did on Saturday. The freshman who totaled 81 3s all season attempted nine against Notre Dame. And the confidence that followed each make spurred another attempt.When Hubb responded with 3, as he had for most of the game, Girard dribbled to the top of the arc, rose and cashed another. Hubb matched him on the other end, and Girard attempted another from deep, this one contested, that clanged off iron. Then forward John Mooney went inside, something SU can’t do consistently, and Notre Dame took a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.“Our guards are young,” Boeheim said. “They gonna make some mistakes but they’re getting better. They’re getting better.”In the game’s final second, Girard threw his last shot of the game toward the rim, the Orange down four. As the ball slipped through, Girard fell to the ground, two Irish defenders around him. The crowd, SU bench and players on the floor pleaded for a call to no avail. The final .4 seconds ticked down, deflating the crowd.The 3s were almost enough, but they weren’t. At least not this time. Comments Published on January 4, 2020 at 8:55 pm Contact Nick: nialvare@syr.edu | @nick_a_alvarez Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Five athletes represent Kiribati for the Commonwealth Youth Games

first_imgKNOC’s Sport Education Officer, Tenoa Betene told Radio Kiribati News Kiribati will only be competing in three sports – Tennis, Weightlifting and Boxing.Competing in Tennis are Tabera Bonteman and Kaoa Fakaofo. Takirua Betero and Toonga Tokitebwa will take part in weightlifting while Tevi Steven will compete in boxing.The team is expected to depart for the Games on 03 September and to return on 17 September.last_img