What we learned from Syracuse’s 81-76 win over Wake Forest

first_img Published on January 25, 2017 at 1:08 am Contact Paul: [email protected] | @pschweds Facebook Twitter Google+ Syracuse (12-9, 4-4 Atlantic Coast) picked up its fourth home ACC win of the season with an 81-76 victory over Wake Forest on Tuesday night in the Carrier Dome. The Orange leaned on 27 points from Andrew White and 18 from Taurean Thompson to sneak past the Demon Deacons (12-8, 3-5). The win also ended SU’s two-game losing skid.Here’s what we learned from the game.Syracuse is susceptible to big performances from opposing bigs, tooOften throughout this season, Syracuse has gotten burned by opposing guards or wings that score from both the inside and out. The Orange gave up 30 or more points to North Florida’s Dallas Moore, Boston University’s Cedric Hankerson, Boston College’s Ky Bowman and Notre Dame’s V.J. Beachem. All four scored often from outside.On Tuesday against Wake Forest, SU was exposed by a power forward. John Collins, who averaged 24 points and eight rebounds over the Demon Deacons’ last two games, finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“We had a lot of trouble. Collins is really good inside. Just offensive rebounds, second chances in the paint. He killed us in there,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said. “… He’s really good. He’s got great hands. He catches and finishes down there.”On Monday, Wake Forest head coach Danny Manning said one of the keys against SU would be paint touches. Collins often converted putbacks on his six offensive boards and did damage against the Orange’s zone defense.Syracuse can succeed when a defense clogs the middleMidway through the second half, Syracuse made a crucial adjustment in its offensive sets in order to free up Tyler Lydon on the perimeter. Boeheim told point guard John Gillon that Wake Forest was clogging the paint no matter what, which meant that players would be open on the perimeter. At first, Gillon said he didn’t exactly understand. But when Lydon hit his first 3 of the second half with under eight minutes to play to tie the game at 57, it began to click for the grad transfer.Wake Forest was “hedging hard” on ball screens, meaning the Demon Deacons were getting in front of the screens and eliminating their effectiveness. At the same time, a big was planted in the middle, so even after the screen, nothing seemed open. Boeheim recognized this and told Gillon to look to the perimeter for open players. Lydon, who hit two 3s in the final eight minutes, began playing more at the top of the key rather than inside to capitalize on this. In that span, Syracuse outscored Wake Forest by eight.“I was trying to figure it out throughout the game. … I was wondering like, ‘Wow, there’s no way they can guard us that well,’” Gillon said. “… It was a good adjustment from Coach, just another testament to how smart he is as a coach and how long he’s been doing this.”When Syracuse took the lead for good with a minute and 23 seconds left, Gillon penetrated, but kicked out to an open Lydon at the top of the key. That opened up two more passes and Andrew White hit a crucial 3-pointer.Syracuse can close out a game from the free-throw lineThe Orange hadn’t played in a single-digit game since Dec. 17 against Georgetown. The only other times that games were decided by single digits this season were against North Florida and Connecticut. SU lost all three.On Tuesday, Syracuse sealed the win at the free-throw line. The Orange entered Tuesday leading the ACC in free-throw percentage with a 79.8-percent clip since conference play began. Taurean Thompson missed two key free throws with under three minutes left but it didn’t cost SU. The Orange went 9-for-13 from the line in the final five minutes as Wake Forest often fouled to try and mount a comeback attempt that proved to be futile.“Andrew (White) is a real good free-throw shooter. Tyus is. Tyler Lydon, they’re good free-throw shooters,” Boeheim said. “Tyler got some bounces on his, fortunately, but they’re good free-throw shooters. … We made good plays. Not being in those situations, it’s easy to not make good plays. It’s something you got to be in them to get used to them.” Commentslast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *