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Boeheim on SU’s struggles: ‘I don’t really have a good explanation for it’

There’s only one way to go from here, and that’s up.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Boston College
Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim shouts to his team during the first half of Sunday’s loss at Boston College.
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse dropped its first conference game of the season, and fell to 0-6 against Power 5 schools on Sunday as Boston College handled the Orange, 96-81.

SU is now 8-6 on the season.

“Our defense is just not good right now. We’re just not making the reads and covering the shooters,” Boeheim said after Sunday’s loss. “It’s something we’ve always been able to do, and we haven’t been able to do it this year.”

Syracuse’s defense gave up 16 3-pointers to Boston College, including seven to Ky Bowman. Bowman scored 30 points in 34 minutes. Jerome Robinson and A.J. Turner scored 22 and 16 points, respectively, and combined for seven 3’s of their own.

“I think they’re working hard and trying to do what we want them to do,” Boeheim continued. “But we’re not reading where the shooters are and if you give guys open shots in college basketball, they’re gonna make them. Boston College is a very good shooting team. We knew that coming in. We just didn’t do a good job of finding where the shooters were and they made shots. End of the story.”

The 16 3-pointers given up by Syracuse tied a school-record for most in a single game. The Orange continues to set records this season, but for all the wrong reasons.

Fifth-year senior Dajuan Coleman didn’t receive any playing time after starting each of SU’s first 13 games this season.

“Tyler Lydon has to play the four. He’s not effective at the three. I thought (Tyler) Roberson gave us some good play, and Taurean as well. But if Tyler Lydon doesn’t play the three, then Dajuan isn’t gonna play. Or one of those guys. And Andrew is more effective at the three than he is the two. That’s really it. Our problem is our guards defensively. They’re just not finding players. They’re not finding the shooters.”

Freshman Taurean Thompson earned his first career start on Sunday, and posted 14 points and three rebounds in 28 minutes. He missed four free throws, and shot 5-of-13 from the field.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Boston College
Syracuse forward Taurean Thompson plays defense in the second half of Sunday’s 15-point loss to Boston College.
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

“Our practices were good this week. You can’t simulate other teams, but if a guy on the second group takes an open shot, we count it as a basket in practice. So we try to get them to understand that’s an open shot. It hasn’t translated to in a game. Our offense could always be better. It’s all new guys, it’s not as fluid as we’d like it to be. But we can’t miss layups. We missed probably five wide open layups with nobody there. We can’t do that. We’re not good enough to do that.”

After getting down by 18 points, Boeheim switched from his traditional 2-3 zone to man-to-man. But he said his team can’t play that for extended minutes. It was a move out of desperation.

“That was just desperation. We cannot play man-to-man. We can’t press either. Those are two things we can’t do. We were alright (in man-to-man), but the game was over at that point.”

“It doesn’t matter who we play. We’re not stopping anybody. We’ve outscored a couple teams that were decent, but we didn’t stop them either. We haven’t had a good defensive effort against anybody that’s any good. Now we’ve played 14 games. If our defense wasn’t going to get better by now, it’s a long shot that it’s going to get a lot better. It’s not just a little bit off. It’s so far off that it almost looks like we haven’t worked on the defensive end. And we spend most of our time there.”


Syracuse returns to the court on Wednesday to host Miami. Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET at the Carrier Dome.