Quick Hits: Maliq Brown replaces Benny Williams in Syracuse’s lineup

Maliq Brown
Jan. 21, 2023; Atlanta, GA, USA; Syracuse Orange forward Maliq Brown addresses reporters following a 80-63 win over Georgia Tech at the McCamish Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Matt Dagostino, The Juice Online.

Syracuse was throttled by Virginia Tech, 85-70, on Saturday evening. Here are some quick hits from the game:

  • Jesse Edwards picked up four fouls for the seventh time in 11 ACC games. This time, he had two in the first six minutes of the game, then picked up the third just over three minutes after returning to action. In the segments of the first half when Edwards was on the bench, Syracuse was outscored, 30-16. While Edwards was on the floor, it was “only” 22-17 in Virginia Tech’s favor.

  • While Edwards was in and out of the game, the Orange were destroyed inside all night. The Hokies shot 19-for-28 (67.9 percent) inside the arc with a stunning 17 of those field goals coming inside the restricted area. Virginia Tech had four two-point field goal attempts between the restricted area and the three-point line in the entire game.
  • While the Orange were listless on defense in getting shredded for 52 first half points, their effort on the glass may have been worse. They were outworked on the boards, 37-26, and barely grabbed more defensive rebounds (ten) than gave up offensive rebounds (eight) in the second half.
  • Two of Justin Taylor’s three double digit scoring games this season have come against Virginia Tech. He had ten points in the teams’ first matchup, then 12 in the latter. Six of his 20 threes on the season have come in the two games.
  • Of course, Taylor cannot perform well without Chris Bell struggling. Bell missed two field goals (both threes) and turned the ball over once in ten minutes of play. Benny Williams, who was replaced in the starting lineup by Maliq Brown, missed his lone field goal (also a three) and gave the ball away twice in eight minutes.
  • Speaking of Brown, there is no reason to think he will not stay in the starting lineup. Brown finished his first collegiate start with 11 points, six rebounds, and a pair of blocks.
  • The Hokies focused on taking Joe Girard III out of the game. Girard had 24 points when the two teams met in Syracuse, but was tightly guarded all night in Blacksburg, finishing with seven points on just 2-of-8 shooting. His first field goal came with just over seven minutes remaining.

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The Orange return home for a quick turnaround, as #7 Virginia will pay them a visit on Monday night. SU fell into a big hole and rallied against the Cavaliers (16-3, 8-2) in the road matchup three
weeks ago, but could not get over the hump and lost, 73-66. Girard had 19 points and Mintz 18 while Armaan Franklin paced four Cavs in double digits with 16 points, most of them coming on his four three-pointers.

Virginia’s win in the first matchup serves as the starting point of their current six-game win streak. The Cavaliers made a dozen threes against the Orange in that meeting and they have five players who average at least one trey per contest. Franklin leads the team in scoring at 13.1 points per game on the season and has cracked double figures in his last nine contests, averaging 16.8 points in that span.

The Virginia-Syracuse rematch will tip off at 7:00pm Eastern and the game will be televised by the ESPN.

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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.