Syracuse 74, Florida State 58 — What we learned

Syracuse defended well against FSU

Syracuse finished the regular season with a 27-4 record after a 74-58 win over Florida State on Sunday afternoon. Here are some thoughts from the game:

The return of Jerami Grant. He looked rusty at first, but certainly showcased his trademark athleticism as the game wore on. He finished with 16 points and 8 rebounds in 35 minutes and moved well without the ball. Grant’s ability to be an offensive threat takes some of the heat off CJ Fair and allows Fair to work more in one-on-one situations.

Syracuse defended well against FSU

The Orange rebounded the ball extremely well. This goes hand-in-hand with Grant’s return. Grant is SU’s leading rebounder and his eight rebounds were part of SU dominating FSU on the glass, 43-24. The Orange shot 48 percent from the field, and on the occasions when they were missing, 17 offensive rebounds turned into 19 second-chance points.

» Related: Syracuse snaps two-game losing streak with win over FSU

CJ Fair had his midrange game working. Death. Taxes. Fair’s midrange jumper. It was in vintage form today, as Fair dropped a game-high 22 points on just 13 shots. Fair started the second half by hitting on three straight shots from the 15-18 foot range. If that were NBA Jam, the announcer would be saying that “He’s On Fire!” And, he was.

Syracuse finally got out in transition. The 2-3 zone finally asserted itself against an opponent today, and Syracuse was able to wake its long dormant transition game as a result. The box score only shows six fast-break points, but it also shows that the Orange scored 14 points off turnovers. Tyler Ennis was one of the main beneficiaries, as he finished with 16 points. That of course isn’t possible without a staunch defense, which limited Florida State to 38 percent shooting from the field, and 4 of 14 shooting from 3-point land.

Trevor Cooney still needs to get going. If you take out Cooney’s 9-for-12 performance against Notre Dame, Cooney is shooting just 33 for 122 from downtown in ACC play, or 27 percent. That includes Cooney’s 2 for 8 day against Florida State. I credit Cooney for continuing to try to shoot through his prolonged slump, but if the Orange want to make any kind of run in the NCAA tournament, Cooney needs to be shooting at least five percentage points higher.

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About Wes Cheng 2907 Articles
Wes has worked for covering the New York Knicks, as well as for covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also been a contributing writer for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), for SportsNet New York (SNY) as a news desk writer covering all of New York professional sports, 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 with a degree in journalism. Contact him at wes[at]