A quick take on Syracuse’s 92-84 win over Arizona State in the second round of the Battle 4 Atlantis:
WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse finally looked like the team expected in the preseason, shooting 42 percent from downtown to snap a two-game losing streak. Buddy Boeheim scored 17 of his 23 points in the first half as the Orange went into halftime up 48-30. The Sun Devils would get as close as seven points on three different occasions late in the second half, but the Orange withstood the rally each time as it finally got the performance it expected from Cole Swider.
ANALYSIS: After struggling in the first four games, Cole Swider finally awoke from the doldrums and gave SU the offensive jolt it needed. He came into Thanksgiving shooting just 18 percent from downtown after shooting over 40 percent as a junior at Villanova in the 2020-21 campaign. Swider finished with 19 points to go with a team-high 11 rebounds, hitting four of his five shots from beyond the arc. As expected, SU’s defense struggled in giving up 84 points and 15 3-pointers, but its offense was more than enough to carry it to its first win against a high-major opponent this season.
HERO: Aside from Swider, Jesse Edwards also had a breakout game, with a career-high 21 points to go with eight rebounds. For Edwards’ final points, he corralled and offensive rebound, stuck the putback through contact and hit the extra free throw, drawing chants of “MVP” from the pro-Syracuse crowd in attendance.
ZERO: Syracuse continues to struggle against pressure defenses. Arizona State pressed most of the second half with great effect, as the Orange coughed up the ball eight times after intermission (11 overall). The Orange bench was non-existent in the second half, with Symir Torrence only checking in late in the second half once Swider fouled out. The SU bench accounted for only two points in 17 combined minutes of action.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse plays No. 19 Auburn on Friday to close out the Battle 4 Atlantis.