The Syracuse Orange (6-3) men’s basketball team got back on track Saturday in a 99-77 victory over Boston University (4-6). BU played UConn and North Carolina State tough earlier this season, losing by a combined six points in both match-ups. However, the Orange didn’t have those kinds of issues.
Here are four interesting things Jim Boeheim said in his press conference following the 22-point victory:
“Taurean (Thompson), in practice he’s getting better everyday offensively. He struggles a little bit on the defensive end. But he’s a very, very good offensive player, particularly against zones. He gets in that area, just like where we get hurt, he gets in that middle area and he can make that shot or pass out of it. It’s a better offensive team to have him in there. Against zones, we’re better with that lineup.”
Thompson scored a career-high 22 points off the bench on 10-of-13 shooting from the floor. He and John Gillon (game-high 23 points) were two spark-plugs SU needed. Thompson also had a team-high seven rebounds.
“We’re still trying to fit everybody together. It’s gonna take a long time. I think it was foolish for me, or anybody, to think this was gonna happen right away. It’s still a long ways away from where we need to be.”
Boeheim dove right into Syracuse’s chemistry with this quote. There was plenty of talk earlier in the season that it would take a while for SU to play together as a team, especially with all the new faces. Syracuse looked better on Saturday, but SU is still a ways away from where it needs to be - especially against better competition.
“Dajuan’s not gonna score 21 points against any defense. So, that was the move. It helped our offense and it didn’t really hurt our defense too much. The next game Dajuan might play 35 minutes.”
Well, we’ve been waiting for Boeheim to snap at a reporter this season and we finally got it. After discussing the decision to play Taurean Thompson extended minutes - for offensive purposes against a zone - Boeheim wasn’t in the mood to discuss why certain players didn’t play more. In his defense, Saturday couldn’t have gone any better for his rotation. Gillon and Thompson both shined off the bench, while Coleman wasn’t truly needed against the Terriers.
“It really doesn’t matter that we have two fifth-year seniors. They have no idea how we play. None. In a lot of ways, they’re freshmen. There’s some ways they’re a little more experienced. But in a lot ways, particularly defense, they’re freshmen.”
Syracuse actually has three fifth-year seniors, but Boeheim was referring to his two graduate transfers (Gillon & White). He went on to discuss how Syracuse really has two first-year point guards, as well. White has been steady all season, while Gillon and Howard have been inconsistent. Against lesser opponents, the point guard play has been tremendous. Against South Carolina, Wisconsin and UConn, the backcourt struggled immensely.