Quick Hits: Edwards should be Syracuse’s center of attention

Dec 3, 2022; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard JJ Starling (1) goes up for a shot as Syracuse Orange center Jesse Edwards (14) defends in the first half at the Purcell Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse edged Notre Dame on Saturday, 62-61. Here are some quick hits from the game:

  • It hardly needs mentioning that the Orange should continue to focus on getting the ball to Jesse Edwards in pretty much every game, not just those when he has a size advantage. His size, length, dexterity, and skillset are a lot for anyone to handle and when he demands double teams, it opens up other options for the offense.
  • Early in the game, Notre Dame’s less intense defensive effort than most Syracuse opponents led to self-created open looks for Joe Girard III. This is not meant to rip Notre Dame, but to underscore that against other opponents who will play more aggressively on defense, the Syracuse offense needs to manufacture opportunities for Girard with screens and movement. Girard’s cuts for backdoor lay-ups are just one wrinkle SU needs to implement into their regular offense when defenses are overly aggressive.

  • Syracuse committed just four turnovers on the day, their lowest mark of the season. That tied the mark for their lowest total since edging Georgia Tech last February, 74-73.
  • That low turnover total helped the game move by at a brisk pace. The first half was particularly quick-moving due to the two teams combining for just four fouls and seven turnovers.
  • Judah Mintz made three of his final five shots from the field, hopefully putting his 6-for-31 shooting stretch to bed for good.
  • While still limited offensively (his basket midway through the second half gave him seven points on the season), John Bol Ajak’s willingness to make the simple play gave him four assists for the second time in three outings. When combining that smart passing with his defensive energy and length, it is easy to see Ajak remaining in the rotation for a while.

» Related: Syracuse’s starting backcourt struggles in loss to Illinois


The Orange kick off a six-game homestand that will take them through not just the end of their non-conference slate, but also the remainder of the year, when they battle Oakland on Tuesday night. The Golden Grizzlies (2-8) have lost their last five games.

Forwards Trey Townsend and Keaton Hervey combine for over 30 points and almost 15 rebounds per game for Oakland. Jalen Moore averages almost 13 points and 5.6 assists per outing to help fill out a balanced attack.

SU and the Golden Grizzlies will tip off at 6:00pm Tuesday and the ACC Network will televise the action.

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About Jim Stechschulte 894 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. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by NBA.com. He currently resides in Syracuse.