The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team turned in a performance fitting for the last day of work before vacation. They struggled to put away the Niagara Purple Eagles as they played like a team that showed up knowing it was the only thing standing in the way of a few days off. Here are takeaways from last night:
There’s been a lot of discussion about Justin Taylor’s shooting. The sophomore has been looking for a game like this one as he knocked down 4 of 8 shots including 3 of 4 from deep in this one. As the Orange look to improve their halfcourt offense, getting Taylor going from the perimeter will force opponents to stay close to him rather than helping in the lane.
With the starters struggling to get things going, it was once again Adrian Autry’s bench providing a jolt. The Syracuse bench scored 40 points last night led by Maliq Brown (15 points and 10 rebounds) and Quadir Copeland (12 points and 8 assists). That duo along with Benny Williams and Kyle Cuffe shot 16-29 from the field and combined the quartet added 18 rebounds and 15 assists. We are seeing that depth Autry talked about at the beginning of the season.
Soar and Slam ‼️ pic.twitter.com/r8eOujTj55— Syracuse Men’s Basketball (@Cuse_MBB) December 21, 2023
9-3 is a good place to be
As the Orange look to get back to the NCAA Tournament, they have reached the ACC portion of the schedule with a chance to get in the Big Dance. The resume lacks a signature win, but it also has zero bad losses. The Orange took out two power conference teams in LSU and Oregon and as those teams get into conference play, their strength of schedule will help the computer numbers.
With 19 games remaining, Syracuse is going to have a chance at building a resume. Unlike previous seasons, there won’t be a bad non-conference loss hanging over the Orange. Can this group go 11-8 or better before the ACC Tournament? It’s going to be an interesting ride.