Brooklyn, N.Y. — The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team did not have a strong showing in New York City on Friday night, losing by 21 points to Penn State. The Orange were outmatched physically against a bigger, stronger, Nittany Lions team that won the battle of the boards 57-28.
Still, if there was one positive coming out of of Friday night’s game, it was the play of freshman Quincy Guerrier, particularly on the glass against a burly Penn State front court.
The forward out of Canada played his best game in a Syracuse uniform to the tune of a double-double. Guerrier is still figuring out where he needs to be in the 2-3 zone as well as the offensive end, but he finished his night with an encouraging 13 points and 10 rebounds. The rest of the Syracuse team had 18 rebounds.
“Coach wanted me to be physical, aggressive. Grab rebounds, play hard, set screens and finish around the rim,” Guerrier noted after the game.
Jim Boeheim said that Guerrier still needs to understand what Syracuse is trying to do in the 2-3 zone and to do better finishing when he gets in the paint and around the rim, but that his freshman did rebound the ball well.
“I though he rebounded. He did some things. He gave up four 3s. He just doesn’t understand our defense yet but he does rebound the ball. I thought he got the ball inside three or four times and came up with nothing that he’s got to be able to get something,” Boeheim said.
On one occasion in the first half, Guerrier drove the lane hard but hesitated once the help came and faded away. On another, he drove hard to the rim but was whistled for a charge.
Those are the types of plays he’ll be able to finish once he gets comfortable within the offense and acclimated to the Syracuse system.
“I gotta finish around the rim. I missed a lot of things today again,” Guerrier admitted. “But I think with time I’m going to be playing better.”
Guerrier was hard on himself after his performance, even with a double-double, but from a rebounding perspective he was the silver lining. Syracuse got absolutely worked on the glass against Penn State. It’s hard to fathom how much worse it could have been without Guerrier.
Expect those missed opportunities around the rim to turn into makes as the season goes on and Guerrier gets comfortable. But for now, he’s the best rebounder on this Syracuse team that desperately needs help in that department.
For Syracuse basketball updates and stories, follow TNIAAM and James on twitter @NunesMagician and @JamesSzuba