Syracuse v. Detroit — What we learned

Boeheim won his 900th game

Syracuse hung on for a 72-68 win over Detroit on Monday night for Jim Boeheim’s 900th win. Here are some thoughts from the game:

1. Jim Boeheim is one heck of a coach

I couldn’t write this without mentioning the incredible accomplishment we all witnessed tonight. Coach Boeheim joined Mike Krzyzewski and Bob Knight in a club of elite college basketball coaches. Even more impressive, Boeheim has done it all at the same school. If you counted his wins as a player and an assistant coach, he’s well over 1,000. That just shows how committed Boeheim is to the university. He’s done so much for the school, the city and the community, both on the court and off. And even though he wouldn’t like the recognition, he deserves every bit of it.

Boeheim won his 900th game

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2. James Southerland’s defense proving to be an important asset

I’ve always thought of Southerland as a three-point shooter, end of story. But this year has been a lot different. He has developed his offensive game tremendously with a few post moves, some dribble drives and a smooth mid-range jump shot. But tonight, his defense stood out, which has been a liability in the past. He has so much length and he’s learning how to use it. He’s making plays that don’t always show in the stat column. Tonight, he collapsed on players driving to the bucket, grabbed important rebounds, made some big blocks and is become dangerous. Any player with a wingspan like that has the ability to strike fear in opponents. That’s what Southerland has started to do.

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3. What was the difference between the first and second half?

The question isn’t, what did the Orange do poorly, but rather, what did Detroit start doing well? The Titans turned it on in the second half. It started to attack the zone more effectively, make some shots and control the pace. Detroit also forced a lot of turnovers late, allowing it to crawl back into the game. Carter-Williams struggled offensively in the second half and Southerland was constantly double-teamed. The Orange turned the ball over 17 times tonight and forced Detroit into just 10, an a-typical margin for this team.

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