On Saturday evening, the Orange hosted Northeastern and took care of business routing them, 76-48.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
Orange rely on zone defense in win
In their loss to Colgate, the Orange switched between man and zone defense. Although neither were efficient, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said SU would stick with zone going forward.
Against Northeastern, Boeheim stuck to his word, and SU didn’t come out of its 2-3 zone. It worked, SU forced 18 turnovers and the Huskies shot just 32.2% from the field and 25% from beyond the arc.
“Our defense was a little better,” Boeheim said. “Some of it was that they missed shots but it was a little better. It is going to take time, but we need to get better on the defensive end.”
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Edwards, Mintz and Girard’s strong performances
After a quiet game against Colgate where he only shot six times, center Jesse Edwards bounced back strongly against Northeastern.
With the Huskies tallest big man listed at 6”9, Edwards prioritized using his height, which led to high percentage shots. Edwards finished with 19 points and 7 rebounds, and shot 8 of 10 from the field.
He was joined by Judah Mintz (18 points, five assists) and Girard (21 points, 5-9 shooting from 3). SU’s starting backcourt combined for 39 points on 52% shooting.
“We got scorers all around me,” Mintz said. “When I can break the paint, plays can be made. Whether its a 3 to Joe or a drop off to Jesse, it’s really just being aggressive whether I am passing or scoring.”
Syracuse continues to develop role players in big win
Boeheim used a short rotation against Colgate as the Orange trailed throughout. That was not the case against Northeastern, which allowed Boeheim to open up his bench as he looks for potent lineup combinations.
Freshman forward Maliq Brown looked promising in his 22 minutes against Northeastern, finishing with four points and four rebounds.
More impressively, Brown was active in the zone, using his length effectively. On one sequence, Brown deflected a pass which led to a fastbreak dunk.
Meanwhile, the Orange continue to try and find production out of other freshmen Justin Taylor and Chris Bell.
Bell, a freshman forward who has started all three games so far this season, has struggled to get anything going in limited minutes. He went 0-2 from the field in 12 minutes.
Taylor finished with five points on 2-4 shooting while making his first career 3 in Orange.