Syracuse topped previously undefeated Indiana on Tuesday night, 112-110 in double overtime, in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge. Here are three takeaways from the win.
#1: Orange lose its lead but find a way to win
The Orange cruised to a 16 point lead at halftime. Thanks to hot shooting from Parker Stewart and Miller Kopp, Indiana was able to not only overcome the deficit, but actually took a 67-65 lead with 8:00 left.
Syracuse appeared to be in control in regulation, as a Buddy Boeheim jumper with 3:46 left made it 83-72. But Indiana responded with an 8-1 run, and even down four with 20 seconds left, the Hoosiers managed to tie the game.
Trayce Jackson-Davis muscled Benny Williams out of the way and earned two free throws to send the game to its first overtime.
While Indiana clearly had the momentum after regulation, Syracuse appeared to take it back as they held the Hoosiers without a shot in the first overtime’s final nine seconds.
Syracuse then fell behind four points in the second overtime, but picked up a big boost from an unlikely source in reserve center Frank Anselem. He was fouled on two consecutive trips and went a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line to help the Orange keep pace.
“These guys have incredible heart and it shows,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. “We are going to try every game. We tried in the Bahamas and just came up short.”
#2: Jesse Edwards continues to surprise
Syracuse has struggled developing its centers in the past few seasons, with injuries to B0urama Sidibe forcing Marek Dolezaj to play center for large stretches of time. But it seems like SU finally has a legitimate threat down low.
Jesse Edwards finished with 17 points on a perfect 7-7 from the field with five rebounds and five steals.
“It’s been a lot of fun on the court figuring out where I can help the team the best,” Edwards said. “It’s a confidence boost seeing things go well and hearing good feedback.”
Edwards deserves all credit the coaches have been giving him.
Still, Edwards has some ways to go, especially with fouling. Edwards fouled out in the second half, forcing the Orange to play Williams in the regulation’s waning moments. That proved to be costly as he coughed up a rebound to Jackson-Davis.
Keeping Edwards on the floor will be the key to SU’s success in the ACC this year.
#3: Defense struggles once again
As crucial as this double overtime win was for Syracuse, there is no denying the Orange’s defense needs a lot of work.
The Hoosiers were able to score nearly at will for large stretches of the game, as they finished shooting 55.1 percent from the field and 11 for 27 from downtown. Emulating the success that Colgate, Auburn and VCU had against the zone, Indiana used the entry pass into the high post with devastating results.
“Our defense is not good enough,” Boeheim said. “Period. End of story.”
SU has now suffered back-to-back home games surrendering more than 100 points.
It wasn’t all bad for the Orange. SU used an unconventional 1-3-1 defense in the first half that caused 12 first half turnovers, and overall, the Hoosiers committed 26 turnovers.
Said Boeheim: “We are of course going to try and get better, but we have to be on defense.”