Syracuse Finds Success as Michael Carter Williams Takes Less Shots

By Jared Mintz
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange bounced back from their three-game losing streak Wednesday night, handing DePaul a 78-57 beatdown in their last home game of the season.

After their toughest stretch of the season, playing No. 11 Georgetown, No. 22 Marquette and No. 10 Louisville, it seemed as if Jim Boeheim had his team look into a mirror and tell themselves it’s not going to get easier if they really want to have some sort of success this season. They responded quite well against DePaul.

Most impressive to me was point guard Michael Carter Williams not forcing his game, which he’s been known to do in the past. After going 9-for-24 over the last two games, the Big East assist leader only attempted six shots in the win, going for 10 points to go along with five rebounds and five assists.

Syracuse got off to such a great start this season thanks to Carter Williams being the one of the best distributors in the country as he lead the nation in assists through the first couple of months of the season. However, as the season progressed, the Syracuse offense seemed to stifle a bit as the 6-foot-6 combo guard took it upon himself to not only set his teammates up for easy baskets, but make the offense happen himself all too often.

In Syracuse’s seven losses this season, Carter Williams is averaging 12.7 field goal attempts and 4.1 assists. In wins, he has 10 field goal attempts and 9.3 assists. In fact, Syracuse has lost the last four games in which he has taken more than 10 shots.

On Wednesday night, despite James Southerland only going 5-for-18 from the field, it was good to see he and C.J. Fair taking higher percentage shots as opposed to the typical Carter Williams forced offensive strategy that’s gotten Syracuse into this late season hole.

It’s overly evident that the Orange have had their greatest success with their sophomore guard setting his teammates up, so will they continue to make the proper adjustments over the next week and a half heading into the NCAA Tournament?

They should.

For hoops, hip-hop and other random sports and pop culture commentary, follow Jared Mintz on Twitter @JaredMintzTruth

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