The Syracuse Orange continue to show flashes of life and promise, but common problem plagued the Central New York team. The Gonzaga Bulldogs took every second chance they could get to outlast and snuff out any comeback attempts from Syracuse as the Orange fell 76-57 in the second game of the Maui Invitational.
Here’s our three takeaways from a second Orange loss on the season:
The offense will be just fine
A lot of alarms were probably sounded after Syracuse’s first half performance against Gonzaga. And I get it. Shooting 28.6% from the floor and 21.4% from three is not a pretty sight at all and can be cause for concern. However, the Orange picked up in the second half, especially off the strengths of Judah Mintz and JJ Starling. Syracuse found advantages in the lane, especially when Gonzaga center Graham Ike was on the bench. The strengths of this Orange offense promote more efficient scoring. Syracuse got unlucky with some of the rolls around the rim in the 1st half, and that evened out in the second half.
The only main concern was the three-point shooting, as the long range attack didn’t improve in the final 20 minutes. And yes, there aren’t many shooters on this Syracuse team besides Chris Bell and Justin Taylor. But the duo isn’t going to shoot a combined 2-13 from distance every game. That’s a distinct outlier that shouldn’t show up too often (hopefully). Offensively, the Orange will be fine.
No secrets here
There’s no use beating a dead horse, so all it deserves is a quick mention. It’s very apparent what Syracuse’s biggest weakness this year is: rebounding. Syracuse could not stop Gonzaga from grabbing offensive rebounds and scoring second chance points, even when Ike was out of the game. On the flip side, the Orange couldn’t grab an offensive rebound and take advantage of an other offensive opportunity. It’s the biggest area of the game that Syracuse needs to focus on to find improvement and consistency this year.
IDK what's up with Benny. He's here. He's on the bench. He warmed up. He's wearing a navy top but we're too far from the bench to see if he's wearing his game jersey.— Donna Ditota (@DonnaDitota1) November 21, 2023
The missing cog
Of course, someone who fans thought would be helpful in the rebounding department was Benny Williams. However, he did not play against Gonzaga after putting up a decent showing off the bench against Tennessee. Williams didn’t seemed dressed at all to play, as he was spotted wearing a blue warmup tank/hoodie on the bench with no sign of a jersey. Hopefully this isn’t a sign of future true with Williams, as his athletic presence is desperately needed to help Syracuse’s rebounding woes.