Syracuse defeated Southern New Hampshire 72-58 on Tuesday evening in the Orange’s final exhibition matchup. Here are five takeaways from the game:
1. Jesse Edwards Dominates Inside
USNH is an undersized team compared to the Orange. The Penmen’s tallest players are 6-foot-7 Ryan Layman and Preston Santos. Jesse Edwards, at 6-11, 230 pounds, towered over the two, and it showed. Edwards powered his way to 13 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks in just 22 minutes, having little issues scoring inside.
2. Backup Center Comes Into Focus
If playing time was any indication, it appears Mounir Hima has the inside track on the backup center role. He played more minutes (12) than his competition Peter Carey (7) and John Bol Ajak (6). Maliq Brown also played 12 minutes, but mostly played at wing. Hima grabbed 5 rebounds and added two blocks, though he did appear overeager at times, getting called for goal tending in the first half.
3. Outside Shooting Is A Concern
Syracuse graduated most of its top outside shooting treats from last year, with Buddy Boeheim, Cole Swider and Jimmy Boeheim all moving on. That leaves Joe Girard as SU’s only proven shooter, and that showed on Tuesday. Girard shot 2-4 from downtown, but aside from Symir Torrence (2-5) and Justin Taylor (1-3), SU had little to offer from beyond the arc, finishing just 6-20 overall. Girard didn’t shoot particularly well overall, missing all three of his shots from 2-point land, but did add a perfect 9-9 from the free throw line.
4. Williams, Mintz Settle Too Often
Benny Williams and Judah Mintz both drew the ire of Jim Boeheim at various points of the night, and Boeheim made sure to call out his two starters in his postgame press conference. Mintz and Williams appeared to settle for outside shots too often instead of using their athleticism to get better looks. The duo combined to shoot 0-5 from downtown, and 3-17 from the field.
5. An Underwhelming Second Half
Syracuse dominated the first half, using a 10-0 run in the first half to take a 26-10 lead with 10:58 to go before intermission. But with its starting lineup of Mintz, Girard, Chris Bell, Williams and Edwards, the Penmen chipped away at the lead, and with 2:02, the Orange only led 66-56. Of course, the Orange would pull away again, but Boeheim was nonplussed with the the final margin. Said Boeheim: “We didn’t win because we overpowered them, we won because we were better than them. We didn’t overpower anyone for sure.”