The Syracuse Orange got back on track with a convincing win over the Northeastern Huskies with a 76-48 victory. Syracuse’s big three of Joe Girard, Jesse Edwards and Judah Mintz led the way for the Orange while the defense clamped down as the game went on to frustrate the Huskies.
Here’s our three takeaways from a much-needed victory:
One missing cog found
This was an important game for Judah Mintz. He puty together a complete offensive game for the first time this season. The scoring has always been there, but the scoring that came from the freshman was aggressive and efficient. Mintz showed great dribble-drive penetration and finishing strength at the rim to score at will. That in turn opened up passing options since the Northeastern defense had to respect his ability as a scorer inside the paint. He matched his season total in assists with five against the Huskies and everyone on the floor benefitted from the extra spacing created by Mintz’s scoring at the rim. Syracuse has been missing that kind of inside option for a couple of seasons. It remains to be seen if Mintz can match that aggressiveness to score at the rim against more physical competition, but that was a good starting point.
Maliq Brown is quickly becoming one of the more important parts of this Syracuse team. He’s so active on both sides of the ball and it seems like the rest of his Orange teams feed off the energy he provides. Brown is constantly moving on offense and defense and while he doesn’t stuff the stat sheet with big numbers, he’s certainly making his presence felt. The defense improved mightily when Brown was on the floor and he was one of the only Syracuse players moving off the ball on offense. He’s moving up the line to get significant playing time in conference play.
Back to old problems
Syracuse played almost exclusively zone against Northeastern after flipping between defensive schemes against its first two opponents. The Orange got away with facing at team that’s not great at shooting the three point ball. Northeastern regressed to the mean heavily as the game progressed, but the Huskies had plenty of open looks beyond the arc. Syracuse now returns to a familiar issue with the zone as new players have to learn the rotations that cover the perimeter. Jesse Edwards can’t rush out to the corner all the time to contest a long ball. The wings and guards have to learn their defensive rotations quickly as we’ve already seen what happens when the Orange let a good three-point shooting team have room on the perimeter.