AztecReport.com hands out grades for the San Diego State players as they took on Syracuse.
Syracuse 62 San Diego State 49
Xavier Thames – 32 mins, 3 pts, 3 rebs, 3 ast, 0 blks, 5 stls, 0 TO
Thames made the first shot of he game, runner in the lane, giving SDSU their first and only lead of the game. After that the point guard missed his next 10 shots. While his offense was a rough outing, his defense was solid with 5 steals and good man-to-man D in the half court on Triche. (C-)
Chase Tapley – 33 mins, 8 pts, 8 rebs, 3 ast, 0 blk, 3 stl, 1 TO
The senior guard struggled on the day shooting 3-of-13 and 0-of-4 from 3-point distance. Tapley didn't seem comfortable at all with awkward looking shots in both half court and transition. (D+)
Jamaal Franklin – 31 mins, 11 pts, 8 rebs, 1 ast, 1 blk, 3 stl, 7 TO
Mario never became Super Mario in this one. Franklin was missing in action until the game was already in doubt. At intermission he had 2 points and 6 turnovers! Spectators could see the zone made him frustrated. Seemed to get things going once SDSU went to small ball. (D)
J.J. O'Brien – 31 mins, 9 pts, 7 rebs, 2 ast, 0 blk, 2 stl, 2 TO
It was a solid outing for O'Brien in his first game in an SDSU uniform. The forward was able to find space in the zone and create for others. It was an expected tough matchup for O'Brien with his small size but he held his own. Five his seven rebounds were offensive. (B)
Deshawn Stephens – 28 mins, 5 pts, 6 rebs, 0 ast, 0 blk, 1 stl, 1 TO
Stephens only received one post touch the entire game that resulted in a bucket in the lane. The big men of Syracuse didn't have large games but the perimeter players scored a majority of their points in the paint. (C+)
Winston Shepard – 21 mins, 7 pts, 4 rebs, 0 ast, 1 blk, 0 stl, 4 TO
Shepard looked to be thinking more than he was playing early on; magnified by a pass up-court that sailed out of bounds. He had to be reminded constantly by the coaching staff to "push" and "go" after rebounds. Against the zone it was difficult at times for him to figure out where to go when Thames was running the point. The bright spot was his defense against whomever he was on. (C-)
James Rahon – 16 mins, 9 pts, 0 rebs, 0 ast, 0 blk, 0 stl, 0 TO
What was the surprise of the day? Rahon played the best out of all the Aztecs, only player to shoot 50% or better with more than three field goal attempts. He also played solid half court defense but did lose his man a couple times in transition to stop the SDSU momentum. (B)
Dwayne Polee – 5 mins, 0 pts, 2 rebs, 0 ast, 0 blk, 0 stl, 1 TO
Polee played a minute of garbage time in the second half for his only action in the second half. He didn't work the middle of the zone like the Aztecs hope he would. (C-)
Skylar Spencer – 3 mins, 0 pts, 0 rebs, 0 ast, 0 blk, 0 stl, 0 TO
The freshman made his collegiate debut but was slow on getting over on two rotations resulting in three first half minutes. (Inc.)
1) The halftime deficit (14) was too much to overcome. In the first half San Diego State played on the tough side of the court with heavy winds and into the sun.
2) Shooting woes had just as much to do with the weather conditions than the Syracuse 2/3 zone. Don't get me wrong, the length of ‘Cuse caused fits around the rim but SDSU had plenty of opportunities to score but couldn't capitalize. Look at the numbers: Aztecs shot 17-of-63 from the field (27%), 1-of-18 from downtown (5%) and 14-of-33 from the free-throw line (42%).
3) Despite all the talk about the size and length of Syracuse, SDSU only lost the rebounding battle by 1 and had an impressive 20 offensive rebounds.
Grades: Syracuse vs. San Diego State
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