Syracuse defeated Richmond, 74-71, on Monday evening at the Barclays Center in the Empire Classic. Here are some quick hits from the game:
- The Orange tilted their entire offense in Joe Girard III’s direction after his sizzling start. While some tactics, such as running him off screens, were generally effective, using him in isolation to create his own shot when everyone in the arena knows that is the plan was often not.
- The offense skewing so heavily in Girard’s direction led to a late-game possession where Judah Mintz brought the ball into the frontcourt and settled for a three-pointer with 24 seconds on the shot clock. That is not an ideal shot for either Mintz of the SU offense as a whole.
- Chris Bell made his first shot from the floor and it had a very positive effect on the freshman. Bell played with much more activity on defense, hit three triples for most of his 11 points, and was rewarded by playing the entire second half and overtime.
- Bell’s frontcourt mates, Jesse Edwards and Benny Williams, also played the last 25 minutes of the game, as Symir Torrence was the only reserve to check in after intermission.
- The Orange defense, while having a rough time with the Spiders’ three-point shooting for large parts of the second half, put a lot of focus on contesting on the perimeter late. Richmond made only two of their final ten attempts from long range, including five misses on their next-to-last possession, but made a concerted effort to collect offensive rebounds with SU defenders vacating the basket area to close out on shooters.
- As a result, Richmond owned a 44-27 rebounding advantage in the game, grabbing 20 offensive boards. Six of their eight rebounds in overtime came on the offensive end.
- Syracuse made up for their rebounding deficiency by committing only six turnovers, five of which came in the first half. Their lone turnover after the break was when a Richmond defender forced a jump ball after Edwards had grabbed on offensive rebound.
» Related: As Judah Mintz goes, so does Syracuse
The Orange will face a quick turnaround, as they will play in the championship game of the Empire Classic on Tuesday night against St. John’s (5-0). The Red Storm defeated the Temple Owls on Tuesday night, 78-72, to secure their appearance in the title tilt.
St. John’s had a balanced attack in Monday night’s game, as four players had between 13 and 16 points. That mirrors their season thus far, as four players average in double figures, led by David Jones, who posts 17.0 points per game, and Joel Soriano, who averages 13.2 points and 11.2 rebounds per outing.
Tuesday’s action will get under way at 9:30pm Eastern and the game will be televised by ESPN2.
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