Syracuse had a lot going against them in this one. Almost 48 hours ago, they beat the number-one ranked Louisville Cardinal at their place. Sean Kilpatrick was hitting three-pointers from the parking lot. The Orange withstood all of that to beat Cincinnati 57-55 after a lackluster 1st half featuring just 40 combined points. A few points that stuck out to me:
1) Michael Carter-Williams may be the most frustrating player in a America. The lanky point guard had 16 points, six rebounds, four assists and a highlight dunk sure to be seen on Sportscenter. The problem with Carter-Williams is some of the decisions made aren’t the best. Late in the second half, he settled for a long three when the team needed a good possession. He was playing with a bandage on his wrist from the Louisville game which hindered him at times. Don’t get me wrong, though – he’s super talented and someone I want on my team. There are just times that his decision making is questionable.
2) The center position continues to be an issue at times especially on the offensive end. The trio of DaJuan Coleman, Baye Keita and Rakeem Christmas accounted for just two points on four shots. Even worse is that they accounted for only one rebound, which is not what you want to see from this group. Cincinnati had a ton of second chance shots and were hungrier at the rim. The Orange are lucky that MCW and CJ Fair are good rebounders, or else they’d be in more trouble.
3) Jerami Grant continues to show flashes of brilliance to his game. Grant had five points and six rebounds in 28 minutes. Coach Boeheim is showing more trust in the freshman, as he started the 2nd half on the court. He needs to be a little more aggressive at times as he can get to the rim at will. Grant’s more important considering Trevor Cooney continues to struggle. The sharpshooter had eight points, but his just two three pointers in five attempts. This team will see more zone and needs their shooters to get better with James Southerland sitting on the bench.
All in all, a good win for the Orange who needs to give their fans a break and a blowout. Close wins like this will help come March.