WASHINGTON, D.C. — Syracuse trailed almost wire-to-wire on Saturday, ultimately falling 79-72 to Georgetown at the Verizon Center. Here are four takeaways from the Orange's second consecutive loss:
Not much will change under Hopkins
In place of the suspended Jim Boeheim, Mike Hopkins served as Syracuse's head coach for the first time Saturday. Hopkins played Franklin Howard for a season-high 13 minutes, but other than that, there was nothing especially atypical in comparison to SU's first seven games.
"We're fortunate to have a guy like Hop that's been under Boeheim for so long, and that's why everything was the same," Trevor Cooney said
Hopkins still has eight more games to coach before Boeheim returns to the head of the bench when Syracuse hosts North Carolina, so there will be plenty of time for him to leave his fingerprint. But if yesterday's game is any indication, he won't be making any drastic changes, something that shouldn't come as much of a surprise.
Even when Gbinije's off, he's on
Especially in the game's early stages, Michael Gbinije was out of sync yesterday. He went just 2-of-7 and finished with only seven points in the first half. Somehow, though, he managed to finish the game with 23 points on 7-of-16 shooting — a fantastic stat line for just about any player, but one that wasn't an especially big deal for Gbinije.
This is where we're at with Gbinije. Night in and night out, he's been so good for the Orange that he can score 23 points on an "off" night and it flies under the radar. He's approaching the level of dominance than Rakeem Christmas showed off a season ago, when the big man would seemingly score 18-plus points every night.
With players like Trevor Cooney and Malachi Richardson being wild cards on the offensive end, it'll be especially crucial to Syracuse's success that Gbinije continues that level of consistency. If he doesn't, odds are that the Orange will go ice cold from the perimeter more than a few times this season.
Coleman makes progress
After playing only five minutes in Syrauce's loss to Wisconsin on Wednesday, center Dajuan Coleman played 21 minutes against Georgetown, tying his season-high. He had his most productive game yet, finishing with 10 points — six more than his previous season-high — and five rebounds. He looked particularly aggressive and much more spry than he has yet this season.
Coleman scored eight of his points during a 10-minute span in the second half. That helped spark a Syracuse comeback attempt, as the Orange cut Georgetown's lead from 20 to eight points after Coleman made a layup at the 4:24 mark.
It's been an up-and-down season for Coleman as he works his way back from knee surgery, something that was to be expected. It should also be expected that he'll continue to play inconsistently; that's simply the nature of returning from a serious injury. Still, though, it's impossible to deny that Saturday was an awfully good sign for the big man.
Richardson in a slump
Malachi Richardson finished Saturday's game an abysmal 1-of-8 from the field, including 0-of-5 from 3. After the game, Richardson sat in the locker room with his head down, never lifting it up as he stared at the floor.
After a red-hot start to the season — he shot 41.9% from 3 through the first five games — Richardson has cooled off significantly. In Syracuse's last three games, he's just 8-of-30 from the field and 3-of-20 from beyond the arc.
As has been noted, the Orange's best opportunity to beat good teams this season will be to shoot effectively from deep. To do that, SU will almost certainly need Richardson to snap out of this funk and prove to be a reliable threat on the perimeter.