The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team fought off Clemson on Tuesday night to get back to .500 on the season in a game where the Orange used nine players. The bench being utilized that much would be something of note on its own, but it becomes even more noticeable since last week Jim Boeheim told Steve and Paul that he didn’t have time to worry about finding chemistry.
What made this game different? Well let’s start with Bourama Sidibe entering the game in the first five minutes as Clemson found early success in the high post. Sidibe hadn’t played since the Cornell game but he went in last night so that Boeheim could make his point to Edwards about manning the middle. Bourama only played two minutes in the first half but him playing before Frank Anselem was a new substitution pattern for the Orange.
Anselem got his opportunity later in the first half when he, Benny Williams and Symir Torrance came in after Clemson had cut an eleven-point lead down to two. Those bench guys didn’t hold the lead but the brief rest given to the starters allowed them to come in and regain the lead at the break.
Other than Torrance’s fourteen minutes, the bench didn’t see a lot of run but they overall they gave Boeheim twenty-four solid minutes. The four bench players shot four for six from the floor and while they only had three rebounds, two assists and one block they didn’t commit a turnover and didn’t allow Clemson to go on a big run.
Unlike Saturday’s loss to Florida State when the Seminoles went eleven deep and seemed to wear down the Orange, Syracuse was able to close out the game winning the second half 51-39. This was a good match-up for the Orange as the Tigers didn’t have the size to match up with Syracuse but it’ll be interesting to see if Professor Boeheim continues to tweak his formulas this weekend at Duke.
There’s a lot of basketball left to be played and each game gives a new opportunity to tweak things to find the right mix to neutralize the opponent. The Blue Devils will provide a challenge thanks to their athleticism but we’ll see if Syracuse will bring back the 1-1-3 defense to slow Duke by keeping them on the perimeter. The Orange bench doesn’t expect to see a lot of action but Torrance’s ball-handling can help Buddy Boeheim and Joe Girard focus their energy on getting open for shots rather than getting worn down dribbling against the anticipated Duke pressure.