Quick Hits: Benny Williams has quiet return to Syracuse lineup

benny williams BC
Dec 31, 2022; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange forward Benny Williams speaks to the media following Syracuse's win over the Boston College Eagles at the JMA Wireless Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jim Stechschulte/The Juice Online.

Syracuse snapped a three-game losing streak, downing Boston College, 77-68, on Saturday. Here are some quick hits from the game:

  • In his return, Benny Williams saw over six minutes of action, all in the first half. Jim Boeheim even gave him about three-and-a-half minutes on the floor at small forward, sharing the frontcourt with Maliq Brown and Jesse Edwards.

  • During Williams’ cameo at the three, that trio was joined by a backcourt of Judah Mintz and Symir Torrence. That group was limited on the offensive end by the lack of perimeter shooting on the floor, but managed to outscore Boston College in that span, 6-4. Unsurprisingly, all three baskets came inside, as Williams got his only basket off a baseline inbounds lob near the rim and Edwards got a dunk and a lay-up in the post.
  • Justin Taylor had the best night of the small forward group, as he connected three times from three-point range. His first triple closed the scoring in the first half and his two other makes came in the first six minutes of the second half. Those nine points were crucial in pushing Syracuse to a lead, as the score was 32-32 before Taylor was in the scoring column and 49-41 after the last trey.
  • Joe Girard III had his third straight tough night shooting the ball. His 4-for-13 effort made him 9-for-33 in the last three (27.3 percent) and his 1-for-6 mark from behind the arc left him in a 3-for-14 (21.4 percent) slump from there.
  • After he made his lone three in the first half, Girard got up a couple more in the next handful of minutes, including one that was halfway down, then popped out. It looked like Girard felt if he could get another one to drop, the faucet was going to come open. He only had one three-point attempt in the second half, which was another close miss. Girard was then removed from the game and looked visibly frustrated as he sat down on the bench.
  • Judah Mintz also looked frustrated a couple times, but Symir Torrence filled in solidly for both starting guards. While he did not have a big night in the scorebook (two points, two assists, a steal, and a turnover), he helped the Orange run a solid offense, as they made half their shots from the field in his 17 minutes of play.
  • SU enjoyed one of their best all-around shooting halves of the season in the second session. They connected on 59.1 percent of their shots from the field, hit 40.0 percent from three-point land (albeit on a modest five attempts), and 14-of-16 foul shots.
  • The two biggest differences of the game in the stat sheet came in points off turnovers and fouls. Syracuse committed ten turnovers and the Eagles a dozen, but the Orange had an 18-7 advantage in points scored off those miscues. Boston College was whistled for 19 fouls in the game and SU just eight. Five of those BC fouls came in the final two minutes with one being an offensive foul for an illegal screen.
  • Syracuse has turned into a pretty consistent offensive team. After scoring 69.4 points per game on 43.5 percent shooting overall and 30.6 from three-point range in their first eight contests, the Orange are averaging 77.1 points in the 16 games since with shooting marks of 49.0 percent overall and 43.5 percent on threes.

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The Orange (14-10, 7-6 ACC) will finish their current two-game road set on Wednesday when they visit Florida State. The Seminoles (8-16, 6-7) have struggled through a disappointing season, as a series of injuries had led to eight different players starting games and only five players on the roster appearing in every contest. Florida State did snap a three-game slide on Saturday by hanging on late for an 81-78 road win over Louisville.

Matthew Cleveland paces FSU in scoring (14.2 points per game) and rebounding (7.7 boards per game). Darin Green, Jr. and Caleb Mills help carry the offensive load for the ‘Noles, averaging 14.0 and 12.9 points per game, respectively. Green should be of particular note to SU, as he averages three three-pointers made per game on 40.7 percent shooting from downtown, including games with seven and eight triples this season.

Syracuse and Florida State will face off at 7:00pm Eastern with ESPNU televising the game.

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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.