Instant Juice: Syracuse 75, Minnesota 67

A quick take on Syracuse’s 75-67 win to Minnesota in the Maui Invitational quarterfinal round:

WHAT HAPPENED: Andre Holland’s free throws with 2:13 left cut Syracuse’s lead to 67-65 after the Orange had led by as many as 14 in the second half. But from there, Syracuse went on a 8-0 run, sparked by three turnovers in the final two minutes. By the time Minnesota finally scored, Syracuse had put the game out of reach in what was an entertaining game from start to finish.

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ANALYSIS: Richard Pitino has taken many traits from his father’s coaching style, including a tiring full-court press and a swarming zone. But Syracuse didn’t seem particularly impressed, shooting a 43 percent from the field while committing just 10 turnovers. In contrast, the Syracuse zone was as active as it has been all season, forcing 19 turnovers. But as has been the case in the early season, SU had trouble locating the Gophers’ outside shooters, as Minnesota connected on 9-21 from distance. One anomaly from this game was Syracuse’s accurate and timely free throw shooting, as the Orange made an uncharacteristic 22-27 shots from the stripe.

HERO: CJ Fair had just 4 points at halftime, but found his rhythm after being bloodied on an monstrous jam (no foul was called). The senior ended up hitting a runner that started the late 8-0 run, and he finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Trevor Cooney shot the ball well from downtown, hitting five treys for 15 points. For Minnesota, Malik Smith was 4-7 from downtown for 16 points, including a pair of bombs from the mainland.

ZERO: No love for the referees, who missed the blatant elbow from Hollins on Fair’s jam. Even the playground rule of “No blood, no foul” should’ve applied, as Fair had to play with a bandage underneath his eye for the rest of the game.

WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse will play California on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Lahaina Civic Center. The Golden Bears defeated Arkansas, 85-77, earlier in the day. TV: ESPN/ESPN2.

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Wes Cheng

About Wes Cheng

Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.
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