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Dougherty: Syracuse, more than most teams, can’t afford to fall behind

September 16, 2020 | By admin | No Comments | Filed in: fofabvlic.

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on December 15, 2015 at 7:24 pm In 10 games, Syracuse has shot the lights out and shot itself in the foot. It’s struggled to rebound against mid-major opponents then been sturdier in the paint against Power-Five frontcourts. It was a Top 25 team after the Battle 4 Atlantis and then anything but in Madison Square Garden on Sunday.And inside of its mercurial start is a big-picture problem that looks hard to fix. One that, uncharacteristic of the young season, has stretched across two recent games.As Syracuse.com’s Mike Waters noted Tuesday, Syracuse has trailed by eight or more points in the first half of six of its 10 games this season. This was a key factor in the Orange’s last two losses — on the road at Georgetown and St. John’s, respectively — in which the Hoyas and Red Storm jumped out to early leads that held to the finish. And while SU shot itself out of both these games, going a combined 6-for-26 from 3 in the two second halves, there’s a more troubling trend at hand.Naturally, Syracuse’s (7-3) first-half deficits turn into second-half deficits. Georgetown built its biggest lead of the game, 21 points, with 16:12 remaining. St. John’s’, 13, came with 7:29 on the game clock. This has forced the Orange to use its most effective offensive lineup, which is smaller and does not include starting center Dajuan Coleman, down the stretch. That group is supposed to space the floor, get in transition, force turnovers with an extended 2-3 zone and, ultimately, score enough to forge a comeback.But that group also struggles mightily to defend the paint, leaving Syracuse without a late-game lineup that can both score and stop opponents.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“If we weren’t digging ourselves in deficits, maybe we could play a little bit bigger,” SU interim head coach Mike Hopkins said after the loss to the Red Storm, whose 44 second-half points were the most an Orange opponent has scored in a half this season.“But when we’re down, we have to score and our best lineup is going to be in the game.” Sam Maller | Staff PhotographerSam Maller | Staff PhotographerThe “best lineup” Hopkins is referring to pairs 6-foot-8 freshman Tyler Lydon and 6-foot-8 junior Tyler Roberson in SU’s frontcourt, with Lydon as the undersized center. Coleman played nine minutes in the second half against Georgetown and just five minutes in the second half against St. John’s. That means Lydon has played 26 minutes of center in the two second halves, which were the two best offensive frames for SU opponents this season.The high second-half outputs — 43 points for the Hoyas and 44 for the Red Storm — came after Syracuse trailed by 12 and nine points, respectively. Georgetown was fueled by 13 second-half points by 6-foot-11 center Bradley Hayes, who shot 5-of-8 from the field and 3-for-5 from the line in the last 20 minutes. St. John’s made an electric 7-of-11 3s in the second half, but that started with 6-foot-7 forward Kassoum Yakwe spacing the defense with 11 points inside the arc.Yakwe, working out of the high post, attacked Lydon and Roberson at the rim and went 3-for-7 from the field and 5-for-6 from the free-throw line. In the first half, SU played off the Red Storm’s bigs in the high post and focused on defending the perimeter. That was somewhat effective until…“… they started attacking out of there, and (Christian) Jones and Yakwe did a good job of attacking,” Hopkins said. “That’s where our size differential, with Tyler Lydon and Dajuan…”Then Hopkins ditched that thought and said Syracuse could play bigger if it weren’t playing from behind. Because if it trails in the second half in Atlantic Coast Conference play, which is now three games away, the Orange doesn’t have a lineup balanced enough to comeback against talented teams.Hell, it doesn’t currently have a lineup balanced enough to come back against a St. John’s team that lost to Fordham by 16 and beat Niagara 48-44 four days before SU visited.You can say what you want about Syracuse’s late-game shooting, because it has been bad.But the Orange’s height can’t break out of a slump. It just is what it is.Jesse Dougherty is the Web Editor at The Daily Orange, where his column appears occasionally. He can be reached at jcdoug01@syr.edu or @dougherty_jesse. Commentscenter_img Related Stories What we learned from Syracuse’s loss to St. John’sSyracuse misses too many shots in upset loss to St. John’slast_img read more

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