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Why can't it ever be easy with easy teams?
A rare bit of Friday night hoops for Syracuse and the Big East last night. As they faced a team that beat them last year (and the commentators couldn’t help but remind everyone of that several times), Syracuse had a tough night but end up on top 59 to 54.

This was not a good game for either team, but Syracuse enjoyed far better shooting than the Bulls did. Syracuse shot 24-55 (43.6%) from the floor and 4-12 (33.3%) from long range. This is compared to 36.7% and 17.4% respectively.

Syracuse’s leading scorer was Andy Rautins on his four three pointers and a field goal. He had a nice night and also led the team in assists with four. He played well and managed to limit his turnovers to only three.

Arinze Onuaku had a killer game in the post as we all knew he would. However he missed too many first chance baskets. He made up for it by getting as many as three offensive rebounds and putting in the ball. He finished with 13 points and ten rebounds. However he managed to miss nine out of ten free throws. An abysmal performance from the charity stripe.

Flynn had a nice game with 11 points, six rebounds, and three assists. He tried to do too much on his own at the end of the game, but he had the best dickish move I have seen all year by slamming the ball after time had expired and then waved at the student section as well as a salute. Loved every second of it.

Devendorf was very quiet in this game, coming in off the bench and contributing eight points, four rebounds, and two assists in 24 minutes of action. He missed his one three pointer that he attempted. He did do well in also slicing the lanes and getting to the hoop with his trademark lefty high off the glass.

Syracuse did well, compared to the Hall game, in limiting turnovers. They managed to cut them down by five. Their passing was much crisper in transition in this game and they managed to not pass over four opposing players too much.

The big problem, and the reason this game was so close, was free throws. Syracuse was terrible from the charity stripe. They made a pitiful seven of 18 (38.9%). That is 11 more points that they failed to capitalize on. That would have put this game far out of reach before the 30 second mark. If these kids are not shooting free throws for an hour after practice then they deserve to lose games like this.

The team also missed an awful lot of buckets within two feet of the hoop, especially Jackson, Onuaku, and Kristof!. Hopefully it was just an off night, but they certainly will not have three extra chances against the likes of Pittsburgh and UConn.

However, you cannot complain too loudly as they avenged the loss from last year and remain unbeaten in league play. With DePaul and Rutgers their next games, and then Georgetown, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, and Louisville after that, it is important to start in the league with four wins. Syracuse is off until Wednesday, where they will take on DePaul in the Carrier Dome. I will again be there in person to watch all the calamity that is our free throw shooting as of late. Hopefully Syracuse can remain unbeaten in league play and remain atop the Big East.

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