Rick Jackson hasn’t had a bad game so far. That is bad news for the Georgetown Hoyas.
Jackson will look to continue his consistent play as the Orange host Georgetown on Wednesday at the Carrier Dome.
The senior forward is enjoying his finest season, averaging 13.5 points and 11.5 rebounds in 35 minutes per game. He also leads the Big East in double-doubles with 16.
“Ricky’s been good from day one,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “He’s been good right from the beginning. He’s not had a bad night. He literally hasn’t. He’s been consistent for us all year long.”
That consistency was on display in Saturday’s 72-49 win over South Florida. Jackson scored a season-high 21 points to go along with 12 rebounds and four assists.
“Lately, I’ve been getting my rhythm down there in the block,” Jackson said. “For some reason, I just feel more comfortable taking my time.”
Whatever the reason is, Syracuse isn’t complaining.
Jackson has become the focal point of SU’s attack, as the offense frequently starts with finding Jackson down in the low post.
Boeheim has entrusted Jackson to either score or find his teammates, and his faith has been rewarded. On top of shooting 58 percent from the field, Jackson also averages 2.5 assists per game, and his assist-to-turnover ratio is 1.36.
“When they double him, he throws it out,” Boeheim said. “When they don’t, he gets a basket. I think we’re doing a better job of getting him the ball.”
Jackson has embraced the role.
“Coach is putting more faith in me down there,” Jackson said. “I’m just going out and trying to score the ball.”
Still, it is Jackson’s defense that is most valuable, especially against Georgetown. The Hoyas have won their last six games, including a narrow 83-81 win over Providence on Saturday.
It will be the first meeting between the two teams this season. Last year at the Carrier Dome, Jackson’s defense played a huge role in Syracuse’s 73-56 win.
Jackson helped limit center Greg Monroe to eight point and four rebounds as Monroe fouled out after 28 minutes of play.
“Ricky really took over in the second half,” Boeheim said.
It will be a different kind of game this year with Monroe moving on to the NBA. This year, Georgetown’s attack is more perimeter-oriented, with guards Austin Freeman, Chris Wright and Jason Clark leading the way.
Syracuse figures to counter with a smaller lineup with Jackson playing center. That will mean that SU will be relying on Jackson to scoop up as many rebounds as possible.
“If I rebound, good things will happen,” Jackson said. “And good things have been happening.”
Wesley Cheng is the Editor in Chief for The Juice Online.