While it feels like single-digits outside, the Syracuse Orange heated up the inside of the Dome and sent the crowd of nearly 21,000 home happy with a 72-69 victory over the Miami Hurricanes. SU remains undefeated inside their house with a ninth-straight home win to start the season, also picking up another Quad 2/borderline Q1 addition in the process.
Here’s what stood out in the thriller:
Play Your Game
Tuesday’s victory over Pitt featured SU’s best distance-shooting performance of the season: 10/17, including threes made by seven different Orange players.
This afternoon was regression to the mean.
While Copeland’s game-winning shot fell from beyond the arc, SU struggled immensely on the perimeter, shooting 6/17 on the outside in the first half. Those struggles continued out of the locker room, as did the overwhelming volume of them. 23 of SU’s first 39 shots were attempted trifectas, and for a team that simply doesn’t have great shooters, that is not a recipe for success.
One Miami fixed their own deep shooting woes (from 1/9 in the first half to a 5/7 run to start the second), Coach Autry made proper adjustments and focused on getting his guys back inside. It worked well as Quadir drew contact to get six points at the line, and Maliq Brown hammered the glass on both ends for nine rebounds.
Keep composed like that, and this team will be playing extra games in March.
JJ Star-locked in
J.J. haters are awful quiet right now.
There were undoubtedly some growing pains for the transfer sophomore, but Starling has settled into his role with Syracuse and just looks more comfortable overall. His body language, which at points used to be stiff while taking shots, now exudes confidence and it showed on the court this afternoon.
He matched his career high 22 points (set against Louisville while with Notre Dame) by making 6/10 from deep and 8/13 overall. While opposing guards Matt Cleveland and Nijel Pack each took over the U’s scoring for one half, J.J. was consistent throughout, also getting plenty of help from Judah Mintz.
Remember the talks of a 1A/1B backcourt? Well we’re seeing it now. It was another game where Judah couldn’t get to the line much, so instead he dished out a career-high 13 assists... including setting up the final shot. All of that together means...
The Cardiac is Back!
There’s just two videos I need our readers to look at. First, the shot:
QUADIR FOR THE WIN!!! pic.twitter.com/0stb0NXajK— Syracuse Men’s Basketball (@Cuse_MBB) January 20, 2024
Then, the aftermath:
Immediate reaction with Q pic.twitter.com/JLhsdwvEDo— Syracuse Men’s Basketball (@Cuse_MBB) January 20, 2024
There are also plenty of other angles of the buzzer beater circulating around - including from several new ‘Cuse football recruits who were in the house today. Which is why I truly don’t think it’s hyperbole to say this:
The standards of Syracuse basketball are back.
Maybe it’s too early to be calling for another Sweet Sixteen run, but one thing is for sure: Red’s team does not give up. Much like FLJ and the women’s squad, it does not matter what the situation is. If you’re an Orange fan and you go to the Dome for a game, you are certain to have reason to believe that the home squad will pull off the improbable.
Two years ago, UMiami came into Syracuse in the regular season finale and walked away with a win. But more importantly, they snapped Jim Boeheim’s streak of 45 consecutive winning seasons - a record that will likely never be touched.
It was an incredible low for the program. Now, we’re starting to witness the highs once again.