Auburn, and reality, crashes down on Syracuse

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Nov 26, 2021; Nassau, BHS; Auburn Tigers forward Chris Moore (5) drives to the basket as Syracuse Orange center Jesse Edwards (14) defends during the first half in the 2021 Battle 4 Atlantis at Imperial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn simply proved to be too much for Syracuse, having their way at both ends of the court in an 89-68 romp in the closing game for both teams in the Battle 4 Atlantis. The Tigers (5-1) shot just under 51 percent overall and 40 percent from three, puncturing the 2-3 zone of the Orange (3-3) at will. Deep and athletic, ten Tigers played at least eight minutes of action with no one finishing with more than 30.

SU simply had too few answers, shooting just under 42 percent overall and committing 15 turnovers that turned into 20 Auburn points. Jesse Edwards made 7-of-8 shots from the field, Cole Swider 5-of-11, and the rest of the only team 8-of-29.

Syracuse led by four on a pair of Buddy Boeheim threes in the first four minutes and hung in the game for two-thirds of the first half. Auburn, however, ripped off 11 straight points in a little over three minutes as part of making eight consecutive shots from the field. That run coincided with an Orange field goal drought of over six-and-a-half minutes. SU got a half dozen free throws late in the half to stay afloat and trailed at intermission, 43-33.

Cole Swider hit a three for the first Syracuse score of the second half, drawing them within nine, but that was it. Auburn replied with ten straight points, blowing their lead out to 55-36 less than five minutes into the second half.

The Orange made one push, stringing seven consecutive points together in the middle of the half to pull within ten. That was as close as they could get, as the Tigers ran away with the game.

Buddy Boeheim, Jesse Edwards, and Cole Swider each had 17 points for SU. Boeheim had eight points and two of his three field goals in the first four minutes of play, missing eight of his last nine shots from the field. Edwards added a team-high six rebounds.

Jabari Smith paced all scorers with 22 points for Auburn, hitting four threes along the way. K.D. Johnson had 15 points to go with five steals. Devan Cambridge added ten points while Jaylin Williams chipped in with nine.

QUICK HITS:

  • Jim Boeheim’s bet on heavily valuing shooting when constructing this season’s roster is blowing up in his face. The team has shot well on the season (46.5 percent overall, 38.1 percent from three), but the team’s overall lack of athleticism is staggering and it undercuts their ability to defend. Opponents are blistering the Orange from long range, hitting 74 threes in six games at a 37.4 percent clip. Five opposing teams have hit at least ten triples and SU has allowed five opponents to shoot at least 37 percent from beyond the arc.
  • While the trip to the Bahamas was mostly a bust, one clearly good thing was Jesse Edwards’ play in the last two games. Against Power 5 teams Arizona State and Auburn, Edwards shot 16-of-19 from the field and averaged 19 points and seven boards per game while committing four fouls total in 66 minutes of action.
  • Symir Torrence looked the most comfortable he has appeared all season when he got extended minutes in second half. That said, he still committed five turnovers in 21 minutes, tossing uncatchable passes or passing to teammates who were not looking for a pass. While his mates need better court awareness, Torrence simply cannot pass to people who are not looking for the ball.
  • When the Orange were getting their doors blown off late in the first half and into the second, their shooting simply went away. The team shot 2-for-14 in a span of more than 12 minutes of game clock.

» Related: Syracuse’s defensive struggles continue against Auburn

NEXT UP:

The Orange will return home to face Indiana in the ACC-Big Ten Classic on Tuesday night. The Hoosiers have won their first five games under new coach Mike Woodson and will host Marshall on Saturday night before heading to Syracuse.

Trayce Jackson-Davis is the headliner for Indiana, leading the team in points (16.0), rebounds (8.2), and blocks (3.6) per game. Xavier Johnson is the only other player averaging double figures in scoring for the Hoosiers at 10.2 points per outing.

Tuesday’s tip is set for 7:00pm Eastern with ESPN2 handling television duties.

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About Jim Stechschulte 776 Articles
A 1996 graduate of Syracuse University, Jim has reported on Syracuse sports for the Syracuse University Alumni Club of Southern California on nearly a decade, where he currently resides. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by NBA.com. Follow him on Twitter @DSafetyGuy.