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Syracuse men’s basketball: Orange need a different Hurricane evacuation route

Need more Mortal Kombat from the Cuse

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Miami (FL) Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange let a great opportunity slip away against Miami Hurricanes. After overcoming another slow start, Syracuse found their footing and played tough, poised basketball for the middle twenty minutes.

We saw Jim Boeheim go 9 players deep in the first half as Syracuse rebounded Miami’s misses and didn’t commit turnovers. This kept the Hurricanes from getting out in transition as much as they prefer to do.

Unfortunately the pressure Miami exerted finally broke the Orange over the final 10 minutes of the game, a pattern we’ve seen before when these two teams play.

Last three Syracuse-Miami games

10 minutes left in 2nd half Miami Syracuse
10 minutes left in 2nd half Miami Syracuse
Jan. 5, 2022 61 55
March 5, 2022 46 51
Jan. 16, 2023 51 59
Final Score Miami Syracuse
Jan. 5, 2022 88 87
March 5, 2022 75 72
Jan. 16, 2023 82 78

In the second half of last night’s game, Miami had 13 second chance points after only 2 in the first half. They out-scored Syracuse 7-0 on fast breaks (18-8 for the game) and the Hurricanes bench had 10 points to only Justin Taylor’s 3 for the Orange (it was 24-14 for the game for Miami behind Harlond Beverly’s 16).

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Miami (FL) Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

We saw the Syracuse depth on display in the first half but in the second half Jim Boeheim didn’t deploy Symir Torrence and Mounir Hima in the same manner. Torrence played four 2nd-half minutes (after 7 in the first half) and Hima just one. While Hima’s usage is understandable because of the dominance Jesse Edwards was displaying, why did Maliq Brown play just 12 minutes after averaging over 30 the last three games? Especially with Miami getting after the offensive glass?

I think Jim Boeheim’s done well to deal with a young, but deep, roster. He’s tried to exploit matchups and maximize the strengths of his players. Last night he let his guards go deep in the second half before giving them a rest. He wanted the shooting of Benny Williams and Taylor but at the same time that group struggled on the boards.

We know this team’s margin for error gets smaller by the day and Syracuse is going to need to close out games like this or Pitt where a big win is in their grasp. It’s a young team, but as they approach their 20th game of the season they need to find a way to get off to better starts and close out wins over higher ranked teams.