The Syracuse Orange won a basketball game last night. Here are five things to take away from the victory:
1. Chris McCullough is leaving after this season.
Throughout a game that was otherwise pretty ugly on both sides, Chris McCullough was, once again, the bright spot. In 29 minutes, he scored 17 points on just seven shots and had seven rebounds. We knew before the season that he had serious potential, and the fact that he's already beginning to reach it is exciting but also bittersweet. The longer he keeps this up, the less likely it becomes that he doesn't bolt for the NBA at season's end. It sounds strange, but there's a part of me that wouldn't mind seeing him struggle at times this season, just so he has at least some reason to return for his sophomore year.
2. More issues from deep
The Orange struggled shooting the three (again) last night, finishing 2-of-12 from beyond the arc after going 0-of-7 in the first half. I trust that Rakeem Christmas and McCullough will score pretty consistently all season, but as the schedule gets tougher, Syracuse must be able to score from outside. Of course, it won't help that this team doesn't have a sniper it can turn to on any given night. But is there reason for hope? Well, that's up to Trevor Cooney, B.J. Johnson, Ron Patterson, and Michael Gbinije.
3. Slow starts on slow starts on slow starts
It took much longer than it should have for the Orange, who led just 28-16 at halftime, to really get going last night. It's something that's becoming a theme for this team, which trailed by 15 in the first half against Carleton, struggled to put away Hampton, and fell behind by double figures before halftime against Cal. Syracuse can get away with slow starts against teams like Hampton and Loyola, but as the Cal game proved, the same won't be true against quality opponents.
4. What's going on with Gbinije?
Gbinije struggled badly for a second consecutive game last night, and Boeheim was pretty vocal about it in his press conference.
Boeheim on Gbinije: "I don't know where Mike is. He's just not effective at all. That's not something we envisioned heading into the year."— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) November 26, 2014
Boeheim (paraphrasing): We're not asking Gbinije to run the Princeton offense here. It's not rocket science. Mike needs to play better.— Jeremy Ryan (@JeremyRyan44) November 26, 2014
That's harsh, for sure. But Gbinije hasn't made a jump shot in nearly a week. Seriously, he has two baskets in the last two games -- a dunk and a layup in transition. Still, I remember the guy who played really well against Adrian and I remember the guy who gave us at least some reason to feel optimistic after the Cal loss. I think we'll see that guy again.
5. How injured is Tyler Roberson?
Tyler Roberson missed last night's game with, according to Boeheim, a strained "something." Yes, that's what he called it.
Boeheim: Tyler Roberson has a strained something. (He really said 'something') He needs to rest it. We'll just have to wait and see.— Jeremy Ryan (@JeremyRyan44) November 26, 2014
Boeheim was just as ambiguous about when Roberson will return. The coach said the forward will rest for two or three days but that he has "no clue" when Roberson is going to play next. Welp, that's encouraging. Let's just hope it's not too serious.
Anything else? What were your biggest takeaways from the Syracuse victory?