Syracuse escaped with a 70-69 win over Louisville on Tuesday evening. Here are some quick hits from the game:
- The Orange have not had as one-dimensional a three-point shooting attack in several years as they do in Joe Girard III. Girard has made 44 of the team’s 91 three-point shots on the season, good for 48.4 percent of the team’s total. The last time one player on the roster carried such a heavy burden around the arc was Trevor Cooney in the 2013-14 season when he made 90 of the squad’s 167 triples, good for 53.9 percent.
- Girard also seems to have buried his shooting slump. Setting aside that three-game slide, the senior guard is averaging 20.1 points per game by shooting 44.3 percent from the field and 41.0 percent from three-point range. The team is also 10-2 in those games.
- Chris Bell seemed to get things going on offense early in the second half, knocking down a jumper off a shot-fake and step-in dribble, then a corner trey three possessions later. We will never know if he was actually on fire, as Girard attempted three-pointers on each of the next two possessions and Bell went six-plus minutes before his next field goal attempt.
- In the forward playing time derby, it appears Justin Taylor has returned to the role of second-string small forward, hopping Quadir Copeland in the rotation. Maliq Brown was the first option off the bench at the four and John Bol Ajak got a brief cameo just before halftime.
- SU had a significant advantage at the free throw line, going 19-of-25 from the stripe while Louisville was just 4-of-10. On a related note, the Orange committed 13 fouls in the game, a number inflated by fouling three times in the final 17 seconds to not allow the Cardinals a potential game-tying three-point shot.
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Syracuse (10-5, 3-1 ACC) now has several days to prepare for their toughest test to date on Saturday when they take on #11 Virginia in a road game. The Cavaliers (10-3, 2-2) have dropped three of their last five games, the first two against ranked opponents Houston and Miami and the third a 68-65 loss at Pittsburgh Tuesday night.
Virginia has returned to being a strong defensive team with an efficient, balanced offense. The Cavaliers are in the top 20 in both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency at KenPom and have five players scoring between nine and 12 points per game. Jayden Gardner leads the squad in scoring (11.4 pts/game) and rebounding (5.5/game) while five other Cavs average at least one
three-pointer per outing while the team shoots 37.2 percent from behind the arc.
Saturday’s tip-off between SU and Virginia is slated for 5:00pm Eastern with the ACC Network handling television responsibilities.
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