With news of Howard Washington injuring his right leg during Monday’s practice, the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team will now have just six regular rotation players available vs. Georgia Tech on Wednesday.
SU was already going to be without the injured Matthew Moyer for this one, so losing Washington as well obviously puts the Orange in a bit of a bind. The only available rotation players will include the team’s five starters from the previous game (Tyus Battle, Frank Howard, Oshae Brissett, Marek Dolezaj and Paschal Chukwu), plus Bourama Sidibe.
Though Jim Boeheim regularly puts just six or seven players on the floor in a given game, the insurance of having more available is certainly preferred. SU was already seeing minimal minutes outside the starting five (the current group, switching Moyer for Dolezaj) before these injuries. Though the Hall of Fame coach is rarely worried about it, giving most of your players over 35 minutes per game does add up over time.
Washington averages just 1.1 points per game, with just under a rebound and an assist per game. He scored four points in 11 minutes vs. Pitt, and managed 11 in 24 minutes against FSU — the latter very much out of necessity in a double overtime game. Should tonight’s matchup with Georgia Tech go to double overtime, Syracuse would probably be relying heavily on walk-ons.
Before we get that far down, however, SU will call on junior guard Braedon Bayer. The former Grinnell College transfer earned a scholarship this season following Geno Thorpe’s departure. He’s played in just three games so far this season, chipping in two points in two rebounds in those efforts. Bayer’s been told he’ll get burn vs. the Yellow Jackets.
While Syracuse will certainly be challenged with a short bench against Georgia Tech, there’s one silver lining is that the once nebulous prognosis for Moyer could clear up against Virginia this Saturday. Sure, you don’t want the forward out for either this game or the contest vs. the Hoos. But while you can entertain beating Tech without Moyer, it’s nearly impossible to think about defeating No. 1 UVA if he’s not on the court.
In any case, best of luck to both Washington and Moyer getting back out there (fully healthy) as soon as possible.