It’s a simple concept. You give the ball to your best player. He gives you results.
A 22 point, 14 rebound game from Jesse Edwards propelled the Syracuse Orange to a 62-61 victory over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Edwards got help with a bounce-back game from Joe Girard who had 20 points on 9-18 shooting. Syracuse held a usually good Notre Dame offense to only 38.3% shooting from the floor.
Here’s our three takeaways from a streak-snapping win.
JESSE EDWARDS!— Syracuse Men’s Basketball (@Cuse_MBB) December 3, 2022
You don’t know if you don’t try
Let this game serve as the reason why we’ve asked Syracuse to feed Jesse Edwards.
The Orange took advantage of a athletic mismatch at the forward position as Edwards had his way against Nate Laszewski in the paint all game long. Edwards has always been incredibly efficient when he gets the ball on offense. The problem is that Syracuse historically doesn’t always acknowledge that it has a strong inside presence, especially over the past few seasons. We’ve had this conversation with guys like Quincy Guerrier and now it returns with Edwards. Let this serve as another lesson. When Edwards gets the ball on offense, good things usually tend to happen.
The zone starts with the guards
This was another textbook game to emphasize how important guard play is at the top of the zone. Notre Dame found most of its scoring chances and good scoring looks when the ball got inside the arc. When the ball stayed outside on the perimeter, the Fighting Irish found themselves searching for three-point looks that didn’t fall. That in turn led to cold Notre Dame shooting streaks. It’s another reason why the zone defense has been frustrating to watch in recent seasons. Syracuse’s guards over the last few years haven’t been as active as Orange guards are usually at the top of the zone. Notre Dame came into this game as one of the better three-point shooting teams in the conference. Keeping the ball on the perimeter led to more contested looks and turned the game into an average shooting night for the Irish.
Whose foul is it anyway?
Enjoy that type of game Syracuse fans. You’re probably never facing an opponent like this again this season (until ND comes to the Dome later).
One of Notre Dame’s key characteristics as a team was the lack of fouling on both sides of the ball. That kept Jesse Edwards in the game. It also allowed the Orange to be more aggressive driving to the paint. The Irish didn’t try to bully Syracuse off the ball, which allowed the Orange to be more comfortable on both ends of the floor. The Orange only turned the ball over four times. The extreme lack of fouls played right into Syracuse’s hands. That’s probably not coming up again this season.