A quick take on Syracuse’s 83-57 rout of Miami at the Carrier Dome on Tuesday evening:
WHAT HAPPENED: For the first seven minutes, Miami dominated, racing out to an 11-2 lead, capped by an Anthony Walker layup. Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim inserted freshman guard Kadary Richmond, and the Orange immediately erased the deficit, tying the game at 11 after Richmond found an open Alan Griffin for a 3-pointer with 11:50 before intermission. The Orange took complete control after an 11-0 run sparked by Joe Girard’s hot outside shooting and a pair of Jesse Edwards (you read that correctly) baskets around the hoop. Syracuse led by 14 going into intermission, and piled on in the second half, getting a rare blowout win in the competitive ACC.
ANALYSIS: On the heels of a two-game losing streak, the Orange badly needed this win as the schedule gets more difficult from here. Syracuse hosts No. 16 Virginia Tech on Saturday, followed two days later by a date at No. 13 Virginia. A loss would’ve had the Orange staring at a potential five-game losing streak. Instead, the Orange took advantage of a badly depleted Miami team that is missing top players Rodney Miller Jr. and Sam Waardenburg for the season. Then again, the opportunity to play more competitive, ranked opponents is not necessarily a bad thing. The Orange’s non-conference schedule is not dispositive (Georgetown and Buffalo aren’t considered ‘good’ wins this year, and a loss to top 25 Rutgers isn’t a ‘bad’ loss), so they will need wins over ranked conference teams to make their NCAA Tournament case.
HERO: Good shooting covers up a lot of deficiencies. Syracuse’s starting backcourt of Girard and Buddy Boeheim were stymied in an embarrassing loss to Pitt over the weekend, shooting a combined 4-16 and 0-11 from 3-point land for 14 points. Contrast that to Tuesday evening, when the two combined for 46 points on 17-31 shooting. But the impetus to that was Richmond, who came off the bench to provide timely passing (8 assists) and length at the top of the zone (5 steals). As a bonus, with Marek Dolezaj in first half foul trouble, the Orange got productive minutes from seldom used backup center Jesse Edwards, who turned in his best performance of the season with 7 points and 6 rebounds.
ZERO: As Isaiah Wong goes, so does Miami. Wong’s 30 points led Miami to an upset of No. 16 Louisville over the weekend. On Tuesday, Wong’s 5-16 shooting from the field, and 3-12 from downtown was a huge reason why the Hurricanes couldn’t solve the 2-3 zone. As a team, the Hurricanes shot just 37.7 percent from the field and 4-25 from downtown.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse remains at home, hosting No. 16 Virginia on Saturday at noon. TV: ACC Network.