Cuse Country

Home Away From Dome for Syracuse Orange Fans

atrocities in Western New York

Posted by syracusan on November 26, 2006

At first I was excited to see that the Met’s channel, SNY, was finally contributing something positive to society by televising tonight’s SU game vs. Canisius. But given the competitive product put out on the floor by my guys tonight, I think I’d be a happier person not to have witnessed it. Though Syracuse “won” the game 81-71, there’s no way to sugar coat how awful they were in almost all phases of the game.

They got annihilated on the boards by a scrubby MAAC team with no first tier talent. The zone was atrocious all night, the offense had no rhythm, they couldn’t hit a foul shot, Canisius penetrated and got open threes no matter which defense we were in, no one could hit a jumper, etc etc. Matt Gorman started and looked totally flummoxed by the Griffins’ speed and athleticism (yes, seriously); Devendorf was completely invisible for the first 30 minutes of the game; Mike Jones came in when Jimmy got fed up with the starters, then promptly got yanked after 30 seconds due to awfulness; Andy Rautins looked like he’s only interested in shooting threes, and that other facets of the game are mere inconveniences. Paul Harris was heading for the scorers table 90 seconds into the game. Just start him, Jimmy.

The only reason the team was in it at all in the first half was Harris’ scoring and rebounding, and Nichols’ steady play. The switch to man-to-man took Canisius out of their comfort zone, but the exorbitant turnovers created in the 2nd half were not to our credit. Canisius exerted so much effort in the first half that they had nothing left in the tank down the stretch. Their passing and dribbling got lazy, and our guys were in much better shape and able to take advantage of the sloppiness. But it wasn’t due to particularly sharp D. In fact, I think it’s about time to get Mookie back from his wierd nose injury so the team can get its defensive personality in order.

We did one thing genuinely well: consistent aggressive play on offense created massive foul problems for Canisius, which contributed to their exhaustion when their big guys started fouling out. Most of the whistles were drawn by Harris and J Wright, who played a good game as an individual offensive player, though still looked highly ineffective as a floor general. I know the stats show Wright with 8 dimes, but most of those came in fast break situations. Our half court sets were disjointed and hard to watch, and overall I think the team operates a little smoother with Harris at the top. For the record, Devo looked even worse than Wright at the point, and he didn’t pick up his game tonight until late in the 2nd half when he turned back into a pure scorer.

We pulled it out in the 2nd half thanks to the Griffins’ foul trouble, ball handling problems, and inability to handle our speed and athleticism in transition. Gorman had a nice sequence when he finally got back in, and Terrence was key in sticking the knife in with a series of vicious dunks down the stretch to go with his 2nd half block party. Devo more than anyone benefited from all the turnovers, getting several easy layups in a row to extend the lead to a safe distance and make his box score look better than it should have. Harris, proving he’s not perfect, mostly disappeared in the 2nd half, though he did valuable grunt work drawing fouls and keying breaks. Too bad he missed all his foul shots. I would’ve liked to see one more rebound to keep his double-double party going, but he ended up stuck to the bench in the final minutes. Boeheim gave him a breather down the stretch, and when Canisius kept it close and started fouling at the end, he wouldn’t send him back in because of the foul shooting problems. That’s something to watch out for going forward.

The MVP was obviously Nichols, the only guy to show up for both halves. He’s steady, and he’s good at hitting shots when the other team starts thinking about other guys. It would be great if he could show up on defense as well as he has on offense, but at least we have one veteran showing some consistency early in the season.

I’m watching the Gators and Jayhawks pound on each other right now on ESPN2, and I can assure everyone out there that we’d lose to either of these teams by about 75 points if we played them right now. Some serious works needs to be done or we’re going to get embarrassed by Wichita State on our home floor.

*****

Dickie V is doing the game and he announced his top six Diaper Dandies for the year. Guess who isn’t on the list? I don’t know much about the other guys, though I did see Kevin Durant down at Texas once and he lit it up. But there’s no way all 6 of those guys are better than Harris. Yet another reason to slap some duct tape on Vitale’s mouth.

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