Are you excited about 3s? Dion's excited about 3s!
This game was everything I knew it would be. I knew Iona would play tough. I knew Kris & Brandon needed to step up. I knew "Optimus Prime" would put on a show. I knew the over/under within two points. And I knew Syracuse would win by six. They did, 83-77.
But, in the event I'm not actually a seer, there must be some logical explanation for all of this. I'm sure statistically, this was all supposed to happen. This had to be the game (let's get real, Colgate last week doesn't count) where Kris & Brandon needed to show they could get it done against an opponent who actually had a win under its belt this season. And it almost didn't happen. In the first minute of play, Kris Joseph stepped just inside the 3-point arc and shot the ball. I'm pretty sure I heard Coach Boeheim screaming all the way from my seat in Section 309. At the first dead ball, Kris was on the bench, getting an earful from Jimmy. After instilling the fear of God in him, Boeheim sent Kris back out, and he made sure those minutes counted. Kris ended the night with 21 points and seven rebounds, leading the team in points and finishing one behind Rick Jackson in rebounds. Brandon Triche also stepped up his game, looking real aggressive whether playing the point guard or the shooting guard, finishing with 14 points and a team high seven assists.
Rick Jackson, Mr. Consistency on the team thus far, found himself in Jimmy's Doghouse for much of the second half of this game. He clocked 27 minutes, but only managed eight points and eight rebounds. Sure, that's a decent effort. But when you're the star senior forward on the team, your numbers should be much better than that. Rick's presence inside on offense just didn't feel right all night. Iona kept showing some zone looks, and I think Rick was having a hard time with it. Defensively, once Feb Melo went down with injury and didn't return, that really left a lot of responsibility to Rick. Unfortunately, the overall defense diminished as a result.
That's not to say the defense played horribly in this one. I liked how the 2-3 looked at the beginning of the game. It was long, it was active, and it forced Iona to put up a ton of 3s. 19 in the first half, and 18 in the second; but they only hit 11 of them. The only Iona player with any success inside the zone was the aforementioned "Optimus Prime," or as his parents call him, Mike Glover. He was everything advertised and more, completing a double double in the first half and finishing at 25 points and 16 rebounds from a 39-minute effort. Hey, congratulations "Optimus Prime" -- you're a great player on a team that's probably not going anywhere!
A few other random notes from this game:
- Nice to see James Southerland come off the bench and make the most of his minutes (10). He finished with seven points on 3-of-5 shooting, including a 3 that sent Dion Waiters (pictured above) into quite a frenzy. A little more confidence rebounding and on defense, and Southy looks to be a great player.
- Fab Melo started both halves, and that was about it. This injury is really dogging him, along with the fact that he still doesn't quite get basketball. The center position is really going to be the achilles heel for this team this year. No pun intended, since Melo doesn't have an achilles injury.
- I've gone the whole recap without mentioning Scoop. Until now.
- If anyone uses my point spreads or over/unders for betting purposes, please give me a cut of the money.
The Orange are back in action Monday night for the second game of their "3 games in 5 days" series to wrap up the non-conference slate. Check back here to Orange::44 for the Preview for that Morgan State game, which neither Brian nor I can attend since he's out of town and I have Court during the game. Don't worry, I'll DVR the game and give you my recap.
Labels: Syracuse Basketball