Syracuse men’s basketball dominates Northeastern at home
SU men's hoops dominate Northeastern
After a brutal first loss of the season to Colgate, the Syracuse Orange Men’s basketball team looked to improve to a 2-1 record Saturday night against the Northeastern University Huskies. They did so without much contest, giving the Dome crowd a show with a 76-48 victory.
The win marked Jim Boeheim’s 1,000th total victory as head coach, although he infamously had 101 wins stripped from his official record in 2015 due to a scandal.
The Orange got off to a hot 9-0 start following an aggressive downhill offense from guards Joe Girard III and Judah Mintz, with center Jesse Edwards finishing off a lob dunk that forced Northeastern to call timeout after scoreless two minutes.
The Huskies would then attack the weak spot in coach Jim Boeheim’s zone, swinging the ball around the perimeter to find open plays from deep. After ten minutes of action, Northeastern had already attempted just as many three-pointers compared to Syracuse’s three attempts.
The three-point barrage continued, but the Orange big three of Girard, Mintz, and Edwards carried the team. With the first half nearing a close, a discombobulated offensive set from Syracuse was saved by a tip-out from Edwards. Girard reset the possession and eventually found Edwards down low who finished through traffic and for And-1 giving ‘Cuse their largest lead up to 12 points.
With only 25 seconds left in the half, coach Boeheim called a timeout to call a final play. Girard and Mintz danced around the perimeter in a two-man game until the latter was able to get a running start toward the rim by the baseline and drew in the defense to dump the ball off to Edwards for a dunk seconds before the shot clock expired. Syracuse entered the half leading by a score of 39-25, with Edwards at 13 points, the team’s leading scorer.
The second half got off to a rocky start just a few minutes in when Syracuse forward Benny Williams landed on Northeastern forward Coleman Stucke, and an altercation between the two ensued.
The Huskies were able to trim the deficit to fourteen points with more three-point shooting, but a 19-4 Orange run soon thereafter put the game out of reach for much of the second half.
Syracuse sat in their zone for the entirety of the game on Saturday night after having mixed results in prior matchups. “We haven’t been good in [man-to-man defense] in practice, we haven’t been good at it in games,” Boeheim explained. “I think we have to simplify things, it’s a lot more complex for young players to try to learn two defenses in a game.”
Edwards finished the game with 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting, a season-best point total. Postgame, coach Boeheim explained how his success opens up the offense for the rest of the team: “When guys drive, [the defense] isn’t coming off him because they’re worried about him catching the lob, which creates that opening for Judah to get to the basket. And that’s part of it, part of his presence.”
Girard led the Orange in scoring with 21 points on 8-of-18 shooting. The sharpshooting guard was the only Syracuse player to connect on a three-pointer, nailing five of his nine attempts.
Next up for the Orange is a trip to the Big Apple for Empire Classic at Barclays Center. Syracuse will face Richmond on Monday night and either Temple or St. John’s on Tuesday night.
“We just have to play better,” Boeheim said looking forward. “Richmond’s a very good team, and St. John’s, Temple, are very good.”
For the players, returning to Barclays harkens back to some tough memories after Syracuse was knocked out of the ACC Tournament in Brooklyn last year.
“I mean obviously, you think about these tournaments and you obviously want to play your best. And when something doesn’t go well, it’s going to stick with you for a while like it has,” Girard admitted. “I’m looking forward to getting back there, hopefully winning two games.”