Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Syracuse - Seton Hall Observations

The Syracuse Orange moved to 13-0 with a hard fought, sometimes ugly win over the Seton Hall Pirates, prevailing 80-73. The Orange survived despite 20 turnovers (it seemed like a ton more) and 38 points from Jeremy Hazell to earn their first conference win of the year and they did it on the road. Let's get to the observations.

* Any discussion of the game has to start with Wes 'the helicopter' Johnson. With apologies to Herman Harried, Wes doesn't jump, he levitates. Johnson was absolutely huge tonight, especially in the second half when the team desperately needed him. How's this for a stat line - 20 points, 19 rebounds and 5 blocks.

* Jeff Goodman from Fox Sports thinks Wes is the stiffest competition to John Wall for national player of the year. I'm biased, but I certainly agree.

* This was a game this team would have lost in the past. The difference this year is Wes Johnson and the quantum leap (insert your own Scott Bakula joke here) Kris Joseph has made from last year. I vastly underestimated Joseph's athletic ability, which he pairs with a solid all around floor game. The Orange's most athletic line up has Rick Jackson at the 5, with Wes Johnson and Kris Joseph at the forward spots. Joseph actually played 2 more minutes that Arinze Onuaku in this one.

* Joseph also made 8-9 free throws, which were huge.

* Syracuse doesn't win this game if they don't go on a 14-2 run to end the first half. Scoop Jardine played a big role in that run.

* After a week off, SU was sloppy and seemed to lack energy at times. Many of the 20 turnovers were unforced, coming from lazy or errant passes.

* Brandon Triche had a rough welcome to the Big East, turning it over 4 times and looking shaky at various points. He'll bounce back and be better for it, but tonight wasn't a good game for him.

* Let's give credit to Seton Hall, this is a dangerous team that hasn't broke through yet - they'll get a few teams this year. How many, I'm not sure.

* Jeremy Hazell can score on any one. His range caused a ton of problems for the SU zone, because they had to extend out so far to find him. That left huge gaps at the foul line, where the defense is most vulnerable.

* That being said, he scored 38 points, but needed 31 shots to do it. I'm not sure a team can win relying that heavily on one guy.

* Hey Herb Pope, going for the ball is one thing, shoving a guy in the back while he's in the air is another. Pope dominated on the boards tonight, but he also had two blatant cheap shots. Granted, I'd be an angry man too if I my parents had named me Herbert, but that's no excuse for thuggery.

* Rebounding was a huge issue for the Orange tonight. Some of that was a result of having to extend the zone to defend shooters, some of it was the fact that the Orange were not boxing out. Instead they chose to rely on athletic ability and out-leap Seton Hall. While SU actually out-rebounded SHU by one (seems hard to believe) but they did give up 23 offensive rebounds. That's got to improve.

* Syracuse can be a good three point shooting team. Tonight they were only 3-10. It's nice to win games on nights when they aren't going crazy from behind the stripe. This is a multi-dimensional team.

* Andy Rautins is the best guy on the team in terms of making entry passes into the post, and that is a needed skill. However, he needs to value the ball a little more. 6 turnovers tonight were tough. They also need more scoring from him as the season progresses.

* Mookie Jones got some minutes in the first half and acquitted himself nicely, scoring on a put back and making a couple of free throws. Stay patient Mr. Jones, more playing time is ahead.

* Arinze was lethal and efficient in the post, but only managed to pull down 6 rebounds in 23 minutes of play. Also, he fell asleep on the defensive end a couple of times.

* Overall, any win on the road in the Big East is a good win, so we'll gladly take this one. SU didn't play it's best game and still came out of a hostile road environment with a W. That's good enough for me.

1 comment:

Bill said...

Andy looked really bad all night, no idea why, and I'm surprised that AO and Mookie got little playing time in the second half. Plus, every loose ball seemed to fall into the Hall's hands, either because they hustled more or were just in the right place at the right time. The Syracuse guards seemed to leak downcourt a lot before the ball was in Cuse's possession.

But Wes played superb in the second half, as did Kris Joseph, and even without Andy playing well at all, we came out with the win against a tough Big East opponent (or at least one that looked tough last night). I can't be any happier with the way this team has started the season (obviously).