Monday, February 27, 2017

Louisville demolishes offensively flawed Syracuse, 88-68

Story by Brianna Adams
Photo by Bridget Chavez

LOUISVILLE, KY. -- KFC Yum! Center roared from tip off to the buzzer as No. 7 University of Louisville (23-6, 11-5) demolished Syracuse University (17-13, 9-8), 88-68, in the home stretch of the regular season Sunday. 

After Syracuse forced Louisville to overtime in the match at the Carrier Dome 13 days earlier, Louisville head coach Rick Pitino’s squad adjusted and stopped any chance of Syracuse making another comeback.

“The most impressive thing about the win is we got off our feet and challenged every shot they took." Pitino said. "We pressed. We didn't press at Syracuse, Outside of that, Syracuse can beat anybody on a given night, and we just wanted to make sure that every shot they took was challenged." 

Louisville Defensive Attack
The press effectively killed Syracuse’s opportunities behind the arc. The team shot 27.9 percent on three-point attempts with only one coming from Andrew White III. The grad transfer has been consistent all season for the Orange but in the battle in Kentucky, the guard he managed just seven points, getting off just eight 3-point shots and connecting on just the one.

“We play him as if he has no dribble,” Pitino said. “We get up. We sit on his right hand.”

Keeping the Orange alive

John Gillon, whose last-second shot beat Duke Wednesday night at the Carrier Dome, scored ten points in the game and was shut out in the first half.

“First half, if John Gillon and Andrew White don't score, we're not going to do much,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said.

Freshman Tyus Battle (20 points) and sophomore Tyler Lydon (17 points) carried the offensive load for the Orange. In the first five minutes of the game, Syracuse struggled to score a basket with its first few points coming from free throws. It wasn’t until Battle knocked a three that momentum changed for the Orange. 

A second three by Battle put Syracuse ahead 17-13 at the midway point of the first half. 

But the Cardinals closed out the half on a 28-8 run and led 41-25 at halftime.

Battle and Lydon scored 23 of the 25 points the team had. 

“I think we got good looks,” Battle said. “We just weren’t making them today and that’s just the game of basketball. It happens.”

The Orange never got closer than eleven in the second half and wound up losing by the largest margin it has in a league game since it joined the ACC.

Dominant Donovan

Sophomore guard Donovan Mitchell has been key for Louisville’s success this season. In Sunday’s match, Donovan punctured the zone immediately drilling a three for the first points of the game less than a minute in. Mitchell dominated behind the arc knocking six of ten 3-pointers against the Orange zone defense. Mitchell ended the game leading both teams in scoring with 25 points.

On the defensive end Mitchell had two key steals and five boards, helping Louisville capitalize on Syracuse’s missed opportunities.

“Great shooter, he's improved his passing,” Pitino said. “He's a steal machine, quite a player."

Regular Season Finale

The regular season is nearing its end for the two ACC teams. The Cardinals will next travel to Winston-Salem, North Carolina on Wednesday to close out their games on the road with a conference match against Wake Forest (16-12). They will then close out their regular season at home against Notre Dame (22-7) on Saturday.

Syracuse returns to the Carrier Dome for one last game against Georgia Tech (16-13) on Saturday. The Orange are looking for redemption and a chance to bolster their NCAA tournament chances after losing 71-65 in Atlanta last week. The Yellow Jackets lost at Notre Dame, 64-60, on Sunday night.

Photos SU vs. Louisville

LOUISVILLE, KY. -- The Louisville Cardinals crushed the Syracuse Orange men 88-68 at the KFC Yum! Center on Sunday afternoon, with smothering defense. Here are some scenes from the game in photos by Bridget Chavez. Click on any picture to start slide show.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Army Downs Orange in Last Second Thriller

Story by Ashley Moore
Photo Dontae Harris

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – For the second straight game, the #6 Syracuse Orange men found themselves trailing in the second half in a game to be decided within the final seconds Saturday afternoon at the Carrier Dome.

Unlike the last game, when the Orange pulled out a win over Albany, Syracuse found itself on the losing end of a last second game-winning goal by Army West Point’s David Symmes.

"I had a matchup I liked and I split right-to-left," Symmes said. "I just took the shot."

Faceoff woes

Less than an hour before game time, the Syracuse Orange announced that its star faceoff specialist, Ben Williams, would not suit up to play against the Army-West Point Black Knights due to an undisclosed injury.

"Ben Williams is one of the best in the game and has really gotten after us these last couple of years," Army head coach Joe Alberici said. "We had no prior knowledge of it, but we had to turn that into a strength in the first half and we certainly did.”

Fifth-year senior Cal Paduda started the game for Williams and struggled, winning just three of 13 draws and grabbing two groundballs.

Army-West Point controlled the tempo of the first half by maintaining possession of the ball. Dan Grabher won 11 of 16 faceoffs and the Black Knights scooped up five more groundballs than the Orange.

"They had some nice two-three minute possessions and sometimes the ball bounced their way so they were able to come up with some extra ground balls," Syracuse coach John Desko said.

Change at the X

With 12 minutes to go in the first half, Army went on a 4-0 run, lasting nearly ten minutes, sparked by back-to-back goals from senior midfielder, Matthew Donovan.

With under four minutes to go in the half, Syracuse head coach John Desko replaced Paduda with freshman Danny Varello.

After an Army goal, Varello won his first faceoff of the game to give Syracuse a chance to snap the Army streak.

Later in the possession, Stephen Rehfuss tiptoed the crease as he wrapped around the goal to go head-on with Army goalie, Aj Barretto. A Rehfuss spin move put Syracuse back on the scoreboard.

The Orange managed to score one more goal before the half, going into halftime down two.

Second Half Adjustments

The second half started tighter than the first with Syracuse and Army exchanging goals, both scoring three in the third.

Varello and Grabher split eight faceoffs, but Army still managed to come up with more loose balls.

With just under eleven minutes to go in the game, Syracuse was charged with two penalties, one on Pat Carlin and the other on Carlo Ciferi, forcing the Orange to play down two men. The Orange managed to hold the Black Knights scoreless until both players returned to the field, resulting in monstrous applause by Syracuse fans.

Momentum swung in Syracuse’ favor after score two goals, tying up the game at 12.

Both teams managed to score within the next few minutes, turning the game into a nail biter with just two minutes left in regulation.

The Orange had the ball with a chance to go ahead but after a Sergio Salcido turnover, Army regained possession

Alberici called a timeout to draw up the final, potentially game winning play.

 Starting with 38 seconds left in the game, Matt Donovan moved the ball through the X from left to right, passed it to Nate Jones, who passed it to Ted Glesener in the top right corner. Glesener moved it to Symmes, who took an unexpected game-winning shot from his left hip and scored with 0.5 seconds left in the game.

“They were answering us but I kind of looked at it like we were answering them,” Alberici said.

"One thing we knew about [Army] coming in is that they were going to be well coached and play for 60 minutes, which they did," Desko said.

Looking Ahead

Syracuse (2-1) closes out their four-game home stretch against #7 Virginia to begin ACC play next Sunday at noon in the Carrier Dome.

Army West Point (3-1) will host Lafayette Saturday to start Patriot League play.

Syracuse Women Remain Perfect with Win over Massachusetts

Photos and text by Jacqueline Mundry

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The #5 Syracuse Orange (4-0) remain perfect through four games after a 17-8 win over the University of Massachusetts (1-3) at the Carrier Dome on Saturday afternoon.

"It's always nice to be home in the dome and have a very well coached UMass team come in here." SU head coach Gary Gait said. "They were on our elbows a lot, it was the most physical game all year."

Gait said the physicality of the game led to more turnovers than he would have liked for SU with 25, while the Minutemen had 24.

In the tenth meeting for the teams, UMass was no match for SU in scoring. The Orange outshot the Minutemen 43-21 and controlled more draws with the help of freshman defender, Morgan Widner.

Widner continued to dominate in the draw circle. She leads the nation in draw controls per game with 13.67 but early in the second half, Gait decided to use sophomore midfielder, Julie Cross, at the draw.

Cross is Widner's draw partner in practice and Gait wanted to give her a chance.

"We've been talking about getting Julie a couple draws," he said. "We just wanted to give Morgan a chance to see where the pressure is coming from and take a break."

The Orange women have a tough week ahead of them, playing four games in eight days. Up next they'll host upstate rival, Albany on Monday, followed by their first road game at Northwestern on Friday before coming home to host Virginia on Sunday.

The Minutemen will head home and host Connecticut on Sunday March 5.

Photos: click on any picture to start slide show.