Questions about Syracuse away from the Carrier Dome were answered, at least for one afternoon. The Orange won an ugly affair 55-44 over South Florida moving to 14-1 on the season. It wasn’t the prettiest game, especially when the Bulls took the lead early. Even in the victory, some things stuck out for me with regards to the Orange’s play.
1) Syracuse’s bigs combined for two points, three rebounds and eight fouls. For the second straight game, DaJuan Coleman played less then 10 minutes although today USF featured multiple all guard or four guard lineups. Coleman’s conference play statistics are underwhelming and may continue to be as things get tougher. Syracuse has not seen the likes of Louisville, Georgetown or Marquette yet. Even with that, they had 19 offensive rebounds and 36 overall. This team is lucky to have C.J. Fair and Michael Carter-Williams who are adept at getting rebounds.
2) Carter-Williams struggled on the offensive side once again. For the fourth time in his last six games, he shot below 33 percent from the field. There is no question he is a gifted player, but he’s also very inconsistent shooting the ball. The team as a whole made only four three pointers on 17 attempts. USF plays fantastic defense, but Syracuse’s point guard should have been able to get to the rim at will considering the size difference of the Bulls PG.
3) The team’s depth is not as evident in these past few games. Six players played at least 16 minutes while Coleman, Trevor Cooney and Jerami Grant played sparingly. We’ve seen this with Coach Boeheim teams that the bench gets shorter and shorter as the season goes on. It’s nice to know that Grant and Cooney are there, but they are going to need more minutes as the year goes along.
4) Brandon Triche continues to establish himself on this team as a go-to player. Triche was dominant on the court coming up with a huge bucket with just under 90 seconds left to salt away the victory. Carter-Williams may be the most talented, but Triche is the most important and he showed that once again on Sunday.