Syracuse lost its second straight, dropping a 74-71 decision to Marquette. Here’s a few thoughts from the game:
No Strength Inside
SU isn’t necessarily getting outrebounded but it really showed tonight that the Orange has no strength inside. Compared to Marquette’s Davante Gardner, the ‘Cuse defenders looked like a bunch of toothpicks. That’s one of the reasons Gardner went off for a career-high 26 points. Syracuse couldn’t stop him. The only thing they could do was fouled. Gardner took 13 free throws, almost twice as many as the entire Syracuse team. SU just had no answer for his strength.
When the offense is struggling, I say, give the ball to CJ Fair. He’s the only one who can produce without just launching three-point shots, something that SU is doing too much of. There’s a reason he’s playing 40 minutes a game. He’s the team’s best player. But recently, especially against Georgetown, SU is settling for threes rather than passing him the ball. If you get Fair the ball on the foul line, he’ll probably score 8-of-10 times.
He’s definitely the most frustrating player on the court this season. He’ll leave his feet and turn the ball over. He’ll make awful passes. He’ll take bad shots. When pressure is put on Carter-Williams, he folds. Right now, he’s doing more harm than good for the team. His four turnovers couldn’t have come at a worse time tonight. So what’s the solution? Not really sure. The guard play just isn’t where it needs to be. Seven of eleven SU turnovers tonight came at the hands of the guards.
The Kick SU Needs?
The Orange has been so incredibly inconsistent over the past few weeks. There’s no flow to the offense and the defense has crumbled late in the game. Maybe these two (and maybe a third against Louisville) losses are what this team needs to get going. A kick in the butt that makes each player realize what he needs to do to be successful. The regular season is all in the past once March rolls around. That’s when it’s important to be playing the best basketball possible. Maybe this is just a step towards getting there.