A quick take on Syracuse’s 79-65 win over Boston College on New Year’s Eve at the JMA Wireless Dome:
WHAT HAPPENED: A Jaeden Zackery lay-up plus a foul gave Boston College a 51-49 lead with 11:03 to go after the Orange had been up by as many as 10 in the early second half. But Justin Taylor responded with a 3-pointer, which sparked a 10-2 run that put SU up 59-53. Boston College would stay within 10 points or less for the rest of the way, but a Judah Mintz floater in the lane with 1:37 to go gave the Orange its biggest lead of the afternoon at 75-63 and put the game out of reach.
ANALYSIS: Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Syracuse got off to a slow start. The Orange trailed 13-8 through the U-12 timeout, and needed to be awoken from the doldrums with a Joe Girard 3-pointer with 11:50 to go before intermission. That seemed to be the spark the Orange needed as they eventually took a 36-27 lead into halftime. Jesse Edwards spent most of the second half in foul trouble, which allowed the Eagles to eventually retake the lead. But credit to the Orange’s youthful group of Taylor (6 points, 2 rebounds), Benny Williams (more on him below) and Mounir Hima (4 blocks, 2 rebounds) for helping SU retake the lead and push SU to the win.
HERO: The Benny Williams maturation process continues. Williams had one of his best games of the season, showing his evolving jumper (2-2 from 3-point land), and freezing jab step in the post for 16 points. He also displayed his energy on the glass, collecting 11 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. Joe Girard paced the Orange with 24 points, while Judah Mintz chipped in 18 points and seven assists.
ZERO: The Eagles struggled against the 2-3 zone, committing 16 turnovers. Zackery only accounted for one of those TOs, but he also shot just 1-9 from the field (0-3 from 3-point land) for 3 points. Edwards finished with 10 points and 8 rebounds, but also was saddled with four fouls.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse travels to Louisville to play the Cardinals on Jan. 3 at 7 p.m. TV: ESPNU. The Cardinals are off to a historically bad start at 2-12, with their only wins over Western Kentucky and FAMU.