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Fast reaction: 3 quick takeaways from Syracuse men’s basketball’s 77-66 victory over Pittsburgh

first_imgSyracuse (10-6, 2-1 Atlantic Coast) exploded out to a monstrous first-half lead and cruised to a 77-66 win over Pittsburgh (12-4, 1-2) on Saturday in the Carrier Dome. The Orange’s 30-2 run paved the way for its second ACC victory and gave SU its first back-to-back wins since November.Here are three takeaways from the game.Syracuse showed it can dominateThe Orange’s hot start featured everything clicking on all cylinders. During SU’s 30-2 run spanning the middle chunk of the first half, Syracuse went 11-of-16 from the field and 8-of-12 from 3. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, went 1-for-13 from the field with six turnovers. SU’s 2-3 zone was active and plugged all the gaps Pittsburgh looked to exploit. The Panthers didn’t get off any easy looks and went over 11 minutes without a field goal.While Tyler Roberson didn’t record a single point in the first half, he recorded a career-high four blocks. He subbed in for Taurean Thompson early on and the lineup that outscored Miami by 21 while it was in the game propelled Syracuse once again.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textPittsburgh began inching back into the game late in the first half, but the way Syracuse used its defense — a stark contrast from when it gave up 93 to St. John’s and 96 to Boston College — provided a boost it hasn’t had all year. Boeheim has his lineup — and it can play defenseThroughout the season, head coach Jim Boeheim has been searching for the right lineup combinations. He’s finally settled on one with John Gillon, Tyus Battle, Andrew White, Roberson and Tyler Lydon. He played this group for more than 34 minutes against Miami on Wednesday and when he was asked about it after the game, he said he’ll stick with it if it keeps leading SU to wins.At the beginning of the season, Boeheim said it would take time for two freshmen and two grad transfers to acclimate to the 2-3 zone. With Thompson struggling defensively, Boeheim’s narrowed that down to just one freshman. Still, after Syracuse lost to Boston College on Jan. 1, Boeheim said his team should have picked up the defense by then.Less than a week later, Syracuse has turned around its season.SU remains efficient on offenseThe Orange backed up its most offensively efficient game against a major-conference opponent with another one. Against Miami, SU shot 56.8 percent from the field and on Saturday against Pitt, the Orange shot 51.9 percent from the field. Syracuse entered the game ranked 63rd in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency, per Kenpom.com.SU also made 14 3-pointers, its most against a major-conference opponent this season. The Orange moved the ball effectively and found the open player, whether Pitt was in a man-to-man defense or in its full-court trapping press.“Offensively we were just a little more aware of what we were trying to do,” Boeheim said after the Miami game. “Get Tyler Lydon in low a couple times. Try to get Andrew some shots. Try to get John some pick and rolls where he can get in the lane.”Syracuse did it again on Saturday as it had a balanced scoring attack with 20 points from Gillon, 21 points from White, 13 points from Lydon and 15 points from Battle. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Published on January 7, 2017 at 2:03 pm Contact Paul: [email protected] | @pschwedslast_img read more

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