0 Comments Published on 2.01.2010 by Brian Harrison
Why does playing at DePaul always result in more stress and anxiety than it should be? The Orange headed to Allstate Arena to take on DePaul, a team with an interim head coach, only one Big East win in one and a half seasons, and the worst shooting team in the league, and escaped with a two point victory. While the ending turned out alright I could have spent that two hours enjoying several things instead of worrying about if #4 Syracuse was going to actually lose to lowly DePaul. They managed to win with "two great minutes" of play though, finishing ahead of DePaul 59 to 57.
Syracuse started this game dreadfully, while DePaul came out brilliantly. They jumped out to an early five point lead and would hold onto it until Syracuse finally took the lead late in the second half. DePaul's Will Walker came out on fire and DePaul's surprisingly good post play allowed the Demons to get an 18 point lead in the middle of the first half. Syracuse clawed their way back with some scoring runs, including a big 14 point run in the closing minutes of the first half to allow Syracuse to go to the locker room only down by four. Syracuse again struggled in the second half shooting the ball, but a huge three from Kris Joseph, and another from ice cold Andy Rautins closed the gap and allowed Syracuse to finally take the lead with 3:37 to go. DePaul hit another three to bring the game within two for them with one final possession but Syracuse was able to hold on for the victory against DePaul on the road.
Wes Johnson was again the leading scorer for the Orange, racking up another game of impressive stats. He finished with 16 points on 7-15 shooting with 13 rebounds and seven assists. Yet another double-double. He also added to his highlight reel with a couple of massive slams, including a dunk after a majestic spin through the lane. Although he struggled several times in the post, he ended up being key in the obviously superior Syracuse transition game.
Kris Joseph again had a great game off the bench, earning 15 points on 5-11 shooting. That includes making one of one from behind the arc to spur the Orange comeback. He played well most of the afternoon, including some nifty moves in the lane. Generally he made good decisions with the ball all day, however he did start cold on the day. He also had seven rebounds and three steals.
Rick Jackson had a nice day as well. He finished with ten points on 5-8 shooting. He also added eight rebounds, three steals, and three big blocks. he continues to be the best option in the paint as he is more agile and seems to find the bucket no matter how far under the backboard he is. He has perfected the reverse lay-up and continues to be a more consistent scoring threat than Arinze Onuaku. He had six points and one rebound in 17 minutes of work as the "AO Big East Disappearing Act" continues.
This game was won by the frontcourt, as the guards were not playing well at all. Andy Rautins, Brandon Triche, and Scoop Jardine all combined for only 12 points and ten assists. Rautins was particularly cold, shooting 2-10 from behind the arc. Although his defense was again useful later in the game, his shooting was poor as he continues to struggle in conference play since the Rutgers game. He did hit a huge three to help the Orange in the final stretch of the game. Triche was a complete non-factor in this game, and Scoop made some poor choices in going to the hoop. Hopefully all three will bounce back against Providence this week.
Syracuse's main problem in this game was poor shooting from the floor. Syracuse was 24-57 (42.1%) from the floor and 5-16 (31.3%) from long range. While that is pretty close to how they have been shooting the three, Syracuse has consistently averaged shooting of 50% or better throughout the season. To shoot this badly was really the reason Syracuse was in such a hole in the first half, and continued to struggle until they got some scoring runs. Even then it seems only a few jump shots went in for the Orange. The main bulk of points came from either around the hoop or straight up slam dunks. Conversely DePaul shot way above their pay grade in this game, hitting 40.7% from the floor and draining eight three pointers.
Syracuse overall actually managed to take care of the ball, only committing 12 turnovers. That is three down from their previous game against Georgetown. However six of those came during the first half in which DePaul seemed to score off every single one, causing an 18 point deficit. Again, all things considered however, 12 turnovers is not bad for this team. DePaul also had 12. Syracuse again also led in almost every statistical category including rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals.
All in all, this game ended with Syracuse on top in another road win in the Big East, so you cannot be too upset by it. However it was a huge scare and hopefully a big wake up call for this team that they are not invincible, even against lowly DePaul. Syracuse now makes their way back into the Carrier Dome to take on a Providence team that is a bit bi-polar in how they play. They beat Connecticut at home, but then they lose to Cincinnati and USF. It should be an interesting game. For now, Syracuse is just glad to stay perfect on the road in the Big East.