After back-to-back road games, the Syracuse returned to the JMA Wireless Dome on Tuesday night, thumping Oakland, 95-66.
Here are the key takeaways from the game.
#1: Jesse Edwards continues to dominate with inside presence
After a 22-point, 14-rebound performance against Notre Dame on Saturday, Jesse Edwards continued his strong play back at the Dome. Against a starting lineup whose tallest player was 6 foot 8, Edwards took advantage, finishing with 18 points and 7 rebounds in just 23 minutes. “We knew coming in they were smaller and size was a factor,” Edwards said. “I was just trying to get inside as much as possible, and get open to get the ball.” Syracuse has began to run their offense this season around the senior center, and it has worked. With tougher post matchups ahead for Edwards during conference play, there is no denying his vast improvement to start the year.
#2: Joe Girard bounces back with strong shooting night
Though Joe Girard finished with 20 points against Notre Dame, the senior guard only shot 2-10 from 3-point range. It was a concerning trend for Girard, who had shot just a combined 1-13 during SU’s three-game losing streak. That changed against Oakland, with Girard finishing with 18 points on 4-7 shooting from beyond the arc. Still, players not named Girard shot only 4-13 from downtown “We have to be patient with our young guys,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. “Chris [Bell] has been getting some good shots and he is a really good shooter. It sometimes takes longer for the freshman, and I’ll be happy when he starts making them.” Developing 3-point shooting from the young players outside of Girard will continue to be a focus.
#3: Syracuse sees valuable minutes from bench
Syracuse was well in control of the game by halftime, holding a 45-24 advantage. That allowed for a lot of the younger backups off the bench to see extended minutes. That included Maliq Brown, who had played a combined 13 minutes in his last three games. Against Oakland, he played 16 minutes had 12 points and 7 rebounds. Ten different players scored for the Orange in the lopsided victory. “We need everyone to play well,” Boeheim said. “It’s not one or two, it’s everybody.” The challenge for Syracuse continues with finding key role players that play efficient around the starters.
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