Hall of Fame
- Aug 24, 2011
Screen for Justin Taylor!!Gotta write down something after that game but pressed for time. Here goes...
Wow. I think we have all commented before this game on how streaky and inconsistent this team has been. It has been their hallmark so far. Great half. Awful half. There has been little in the way of simple good play. Like the meme says, 'sometimes a good, sometimes a s***'.
But they took that inconsistency to a new level last night.
Gotta give props to Colgate. They have a veteran team. They are well coached. They do a great job running their half court offense and they dissected our man defense this year almost as easily as they have destroyed the 2-3 the last 2 years.
And their defense isn't bad either. They switched from zone to man and back again a number of times and did a passable job with both. When they played man, they sagged towards the paint and it appeared their strategy was to allow Syracuse to shoot as many 3s as possible, preferably as early in possessions as possible. They knew their players were not as athletic as ours and did not want our guys slashing to the basket. When Judah tried to drive, he had 5 man in the paint and no room to maneuver.
For too long in the game, we fell into this trap and we happy to settle for taking early 3s with no one under the basket to rebound. Lots of bad shots by bad shooters. Guys like Benny, Q, Mintz, JJ and Cuffe were jacking shots up without even getting set in shooting position. We took 32 3s. Ridiculous against a team as unathletic as Colgate.
Was really disappointed when this continued into the second half. Thought Red would surely put a stop to it but he did not. Which is troubling. Looks like he is letting anyone shoot whatever shot they want with no ramifications. If JAB was here, some guys would have been taken out and reprimanded. And yes, doing that stuff embarrasses players and JAB probably undermined the confidence of some players and hindered development with some qucik hooks. But you have to have a balance between supporting your players and preventing them from hurting the team by taking bad shots. To Red's credit, he saw Benny was shooting every chance he had. Not a great shooter to begin with, very rusty, not a good situation. Red saw this and pulled him the rest of the game.
What to see a contrast in plus minus? Look at the center position for Syracuse last night. Maliq was +10. Best on the team. Naheem was -6. Worst on the team. Rough day for Naheem, who let slow smaller guys back him to the basket repeatedly to get off easy shots. Did not show any interest rebounding. Just played really soft. And on offense, he just stands on the low post and takes up real estate so our cutters have no room to get to the paint. There will be games when he is a big factor. This was not one of them.
When Maliq is in, the offense runs better because Maliq hangs out on the high post. That alone is important. He is really agile and has really quick hands for a big and drove the Colgate bigs crazy with his hyper active poking at the ball. Really good at it. Generates a lot of turnovers and havoc with this. His defense was IMHO, one of the turning points of the game. That said, he needs to be part of the offense more (gotta be more aggressive looking for shots) and needs to rebound more too. Great to see him take over the game in the final minute. This is a kid who is not afraid to make plays at crunch time and I think he will make a lot of them for us in coming years.
Judah was bad. Again. For most of the game. Again. He got schooled repeatedly by Smith and reacted by losing his poise and making a flagrant foul. He continues to be immature, gets caught up on how he is doing in one on one battles with his counterpart and his defense for a big part of the game was poor. Over and over when we were struggling to score, he got the ball at the top of the key, looked up to see 5 men in the paint and went 1 on 5 anyway. With a bad forced shot or a wild bad pass turnover that inevitably followed.
And then we started pressing, the game sped up and he was terrific. He is a huge contributor to our inconsistency and he needs to get over the petty stuff and focus on his game. At this point, he should know better and not force stuff when it isn't there. I hope he learns from this game. So talented. So inconsistent.
Wish Taylor would shoot more. He needs to be a tad more selfish. Love how he has improved his rebounding and his defense. He was assigned one of the Colgate bigs a lot, especially in the second half and he more than held his own. Bodes well for the future.
Thought JJ was pretty solid. Probably got gassed some in the second half and could have used a couple minutes off but he was good defensively, generally made good decisions and man, he continues to do a good job tracking down rebounds.
Haven't said anything about Bell yet. Going off my memory, we got down 24 around the 16 minute mark. No one could score, we were cold as ice and things looked hopeless. And then Chris just went off. We saw Justin do it last year. This was I think the first time I have seen Chris just take over a game. Yes, he made a bunch of 3s but he scored on drives and mid range jumpers too. That kid believes in himself and confidence can sometimes go a long way. Hell of a performance just to get us back in the game and the long 3 he hit to tie it up was the biggest shot of the game. Props to him. Great job. That said, still have to rebound more and I would like to see him make a good pass occasionally too.
Shocking that we were able to come back from that far against a veteran team like Colgate. It might mean nothing. We might go on an 8 game losing streak and have a losing season.
Or it might be the start of a special season.
I don't know how good this team is yet. But I do know this. This team has a lot of potential. They have the ability to play extremely well and do some special things. They also have the ability to play really poorly for extended periods.
I think this year is going to be a wild ride. I am expecting some real high points and probably some real low points as well. This is what young teams do. But if we are lucky, they find ways to play well a lot more than they play poorly and make improvements toward that end all season long.
If nothing else, it is going to be interesting to watch.
Get him shots!!