Syracuse will finish play in the Gotham Classic and look to give Jim Boeheim win No. 901 as they play Temple at Madison Square Garden. Here is a scouting report:
LIVE BY THE 3…: Through 10 games, the Owls have launched 223 shots from downtown. The volume shooting from downtown has produced mixed results, as Temple has shot just 29 percent. In a 76-61 win over crosstown rival Villanova on Dec. 5, the Owls were 10 of 27 from beyond the arc. But in an ugly 72-62 loss against Canisius on Wednesday, Temple shot 4 for 28 from distance. Take out Jake O’Brien’s three 3s, and the ratio went down to 1 for 25. Canisius, who Syracuse played earlier in the Gotham Classic, closed the game on a 15-4 run and handed the Owls their first loss at home in 11 games. It’s actually only the second time in the last 38 games Temple has lost at home.
SCOUTING THE OWLS: Senior Khalif Wyatt leads Temple’s outside attack and also leads the team in scoring at 14.5 points a game. But Wyatt’s 3-point percentages have dipped over the last three seasons. As a sophomore, he shot 42 percent from downtown. That dropped to 37 percent last year, and he’s now at 25 percent for the year. In that same span, he’s gone from attempting 3.4 a game to now 5.4. “Everybody loves the shot when it goes in and everybody hates it when it’s not going in,” Wyatt said following the Canisius loss. Temple has gotten off track this season when it settles for outside shots early in the shot clock. But the outside shot is one way to beat the Syracuse 2-3 zone.
HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: Syracuse holds a slim 16-13 lead in this series, and had won the last 8 matchups before losing the last one. That meeting was on March 28, 2002, with the Owls winning 65-54. Preston Shumpert had 21 points and 6 rebounds as Temple knocked Syracuse out of the NIT.
GAME INFORMATION: Saturday, Dec. 22, at noon at Madison Square Garden in New York City. TV: ESPN2.Wesley Cheng