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What are you doing Josh?! You only had six!!!

I hate losing. I hate losing to state schools. I hate losing to any team that represents an entire state. This game featured all three for me. While, I feel that all is not lost in regards to the selection of Syracuse at a later date for a specific playoff, this will not help the cause. There are many storylines during this game that need attention, so I will get right down to it.

I think the thought in the forefront of everyone’s mind these days is how was the defense? The defense did not lose this game for us. The defense was actually fairly solid. The zone was more active, and the man-to-man defense was competent as well. Rebounding was the true Syracuse killer last Saturday. Syracuse was outrebounded individually 27 to 39. That is a STARK contrast from the last several games Syracuse has played. It seems like Syracuse never has every weapon at their disposal during any single game. This has to be the main reason, but there was a lot that needs commenting on.

The foul situation was ridiculous in the game. The referee crew was not terrible, but they called way too many fouls. To their credit they were even, so in that regard the game was called fairly, make up calls should not be an acceptable practice among Big East Referees. Generally it is not good to be in the bonus with 12 minutes remaining in a half. Last I checked, the Big East allowed a lot of physical play. I guess that does not count when Syracuse plays an A10 team.

Another contributing factor was the ridiculous three point shooting of the University of Rhode Island. Rhode Island shot 66.7% from behind the arch, making 12 out of 18. Syracuse only managed to hit five out of 16, shooting 31.3%. Two of the five players that attempted a three point shot, Paul Harris and Josh Wright, failed to connect even once. Poor shot selection, as well as impatience on the offensive end, is something the offense will be struggling with this season. While it seems Syracuse can score on any possession, it seems that this is only the case when good decisions and impulsiveness do not take over.

Speaking of things that should not happen, Devendorf, after sitting on the bench for at least ten minutes, comes into the game and right away turns over the ball. While Syracuse did have fewer turnovers than Rhode Island, it was only two less with 16. 16 is too many in a good game. Paul Harris also had sloppy hands making a couple errant passes in traffic and the like. While the overall number of turnovers was less than the other team, the number was a little high for a good game. Also, at this point in the season, the team should not have so many turnovers from bad passes and mishandling.

Before we get to the final six seconds of the game, I should mention some of the good things from the game. For instance, Jonny Flynn was off the chain. He is the new Josh Pace, swashbuckling points in the middle of the lane around three defenders, slicing like a knife through butter. These freshmen are the real deal and I drool at the potential that this kids have in the next half of this season and next year as well. Flynn led all scoring for the Orange with 21 points, and also notched ten assists.

Another surprise from this game was the emergence of Boeheim utilizing Rick Jackson more. Jackson played 19 minutes, earning 13 points and 7 rebounds. A solid effort off the bench. Jackson is looking like the next 6th Man, and a solid one at that. If Jackson can contribute more on the boards, as well as maintain a decent level of points, he will clearly see more playing time in the near future.

Syracuse overall shot better than URI, making 36 of their 67 field goal attempts, for a total of 53.7%. Rhode Island only managed to shoot 43.9%, but again sadly two-thirds of those field goals were for three points. Syracuse did not do as well in free throws, only making 12 of 20 for 60%. Rhode Island hit 20 of 31 for a total of 67.7%. While Syracuse did not shoot as well as Rhode Island, this was not that bad. But Syracuse must continue to get better at free throw shooting, because if another game happens which is called tight like this, it is imperative that Syracuse do better from the line.

Now onto the last six seconds. Down by two with that much time left, you do not have to go for the win. You can easily run the floor, try to dish it in and let your big man dunk or even get fouled. You could even have Flynn, with the way he was playing cut through the lane and let him take it coast to coast. But, with time ticking, why would you let a very unproven Josh Wright seem to take forever to get up the floor, only to pass to a seemingly surprised Paul Harris? Josh Wright seemed to underestimate how fast six seconds really is. Needless to say, it was a tragic ending to a game they could have pulled out.

If something goes better here, or a free throw goes in there, this game is won. Sadly, it turned out to be a two point loss. It seems that over the last few years 60 points is the magic number for Syracuse. This means that when they limit opponents to fewer than 60 points they win, otherwise it is not a sure thing. By allowing teams to score 91 or even 107 it is not likely that Syracuse, unless they are leading, will be winning the ball game.

This leaves some people thinking Syracuse will not be making the NCAA Tournament. It is far too early to panic like this already. This is my half assed attempt to calm you all down. The proof is in the conference pudding. I will not judge our chances until we play at least a few Big East games. That being said, we need to win the rest of the non-conference games. We will take on East Tennessee State this Saturday in the Carrier Dome at 7:00pm. We shall see how the team responds to this failing to rebound, and the onslaught of three pointers from other teams.

Also of note, my latest conversation answering the man’s questions over at Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician. It is time for another installment of Orange::44 Is An Absolute Magician. Enjoy my ramblings and insights, with a desperate plea to the Axeman that surely will not be fulfilled. But a boy can dream. Look for coverage of the East Tennessee game definitely by Tuesday. I have a take home final I’ll be grinding out this weekend, as well as a Christmas Party to attend, so I will be lucky to even watch the game. I apologize for the tardiness in coverage lately, but I am almost at the light at the end of the tunnel. Take care and enjoy some Christmas Cheer or your Hanukkah presents this weekend.

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4 Responses to “Rhode Island - Syracuse Postgame Reactions OR I Thought We Were Good?!”

  1. # Anonymous FirstDownSyndrome

    A couple of points...

    1) I like how you wrote this article as if you watched the game live. You were running a beer pong table, while wearing a woman's sweater, for most of this event.

    2) No mention that JBren bamboozled into thinking that we won, until you realized while half awake in a Jack & Dr. Pepper enduced nap that we lost.

    3) Yes the school represents a whole state, but the state is Rhode Island, they barely qualify as a state. It's not like we to a state school whose abbreviated letters aren't even the state abbreviation, like UVM. Oh wait, we lost to them like 3 years ago. Ok scrap point three.  

  2. # Blogger Brian Harrison

    To be fair, I did at least watch the game after the broadcast. As for the sweater, it was a sweater vest.

    And yes, I am good at beer pong.  

  3. # Blogger John

    Here's a recap of the text messaging between Brian and myself:

    Me: 91-89 loss.
    Brian: For real?
    Me: Yeah, I blame Josh Wright.

    I didn't think I could be more specific.  

  4. # Blogger FirstDownSyndrome

    JBren, you are off the hook. I was clearly lied to by BH. plus, I was really excited to use the word bamboozled in a posting.  

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