Syracuse basketball’s front line offers little in Georgia Tech loss

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Feb 27, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets forward Khalid Moore (12) shoots past Syracuse Orange forward Marek Dolezaj (21) in the second half at McCamish Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

ATLANTA — There were two things Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim wanted to clean up heading into Saturday’s matinee at Georgia Tech:

  • Get off to a better start
  • In order to do that, Syracuse needed its forwards, Alan Griffin and Quincy Guerrier, to play better

Well, Objective No. 1 didn’t exactly come to fruition. Against the Yellow Jackets, the Orange blinked and found themselves down 8-0 just over a minute into the game and were down by as many as 13 in the first half.

But, the second bullet point helped erase that first half deficit. Griffin scored 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting (including four 3-pointers in five tries), helping Syracuse close out the first half with a 23-5 run to lead by five at intermission.

“Alan kinda kept us in there early, made some shots,” said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim. “Then, once we got everybody moving, we started to get our offense on track.”

Guerrier pitched in with five of the final 10 points in the half.

However, in the second half, Griffin and Guerrier could not sustain their efforts. Each player scored just six points in the second half as Syracuse was outscored by 12 after intermission.

“The forwards just weren’t good defensively,” Boeheim said. “They got beat back door a couple times. When a guy dribbles in there, the forwards have to be back there helping. We have three guys back there and we have two and we have to be able to do a better job defensively.”

» Related: Syracuse lets another opportunity slip in loss to Ga. Tech

THIS & THAT

  • Entering Saturday, Jesse Edwards had played 48 minutes this season, with 23 of them coming in the Jan. 29 win over Miami. With Marek Dolezaj riddled with foul trouble against Georgia Tech, Edwards played 23 minutes, logging seven points and eight rebounds.
  • Boeheim on Marek Dolezaj’s foul trouble and lack of production on Saturday: “This wasn’t about foul trouble. He just had a bad day. Everybody can have a bad day.” Dolezaj finished with two points, three rebounds and four turnovers in just 10 minutes.
  • Boeheim on the depth behind Dolezaj at center: “We obviously think we’re better when Marek is in there. We haven’t seen much from these guys in practice. We’re looking all the time. We would like to play another big guy. But, if a guy doesn’t do much in practice, it’s really hard to say, ‘OK, we’re gonna play now.”
  • More from Boeheim on the depth at center: “We have centers. They’re just not ready. Jesse, from the beginning, we thought he would be two years. The plan was, our center was ready this year. Bourama (Sidibe) was ready. Unfortunately, he got hurt. It’s not the fault of anybody’s. Jesse’s just not quite ready yet. He’s got great potential. We didn’t plan on any of the young centers playing this year. We didn’t think they’d be ready and they’re not ready.”

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About Matt Dagostino 98 Articles
Matt currently works as an on-air talent and producer for Turner Sports in Atlanta, where he is from. Among his responsibilities are voicing over highlights for NCAA.com, NBA.com, WNBA.com, and PGA.com. He has also served as an associate producer for TNT’s coverage of the NBA Playoffs and TBS’s coverage of the MLB Postseason. Matt also has experience as a minor league baseball play-by-play announcer and as a PA announcer in D-I college athletics. Matt graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @MattDags28.