Establishing Confidence Moving Forward

Syracuse has been in need of a turnaround after a downward spiral of four losses in their last five regular season games. Southerland has helped provide that. He speaks with CuseNation.com inside.

Senior forward James Southerland of the Syracuse Orange has been an integral part of the team's most recent success.

In Syracuse's two matches in the Big East Conference Tournament, Southerland has made 14 of his 21 attempts, going 12-for-15 from long range.

The Orange as a team have banded together to make close to or more than half of their shots in both of their games played inside Madison Square Garden.

For their opening game of the tournament, Syracuse connected 56.3% of their attempts (27-for-48) versus Seton Hall.

The Orange would follow with a 22-for-47 (46.8%) performance against the Pittsburgh Panthers.

When asked if making shots against Seton Hall helped lead into another positive outing versus Pittsburgh, Southerland shared that, "Seton Hall played great basketball against us. I feel like it definitely helped us. I feel like it mostly helped our poise. We went against Seton Hall down 10 early and we fought back with our IQ instead of trying to do it individually."

With back-to-back wins coming in Syracuse's last two games, Southerland is seeing a positive air about the team. "As you see everyone's more confident in each other," said Southerland. "It seems like everyone's in sync now. Before and at the end of the regular season, we was like out of sync, but, I mean, we knew we were gonna get it back and all it tok was just playing together."

Looking at his individual success on the court, especially beyond the arc, Southerland remarked, "I feel very comfortable out there. At the same time, I feel comfortable in the shots I'm taking. I'm not trying to force anything, that much, and just going out there playing as a team."

With the Georgetown Hoyas setting up opposite Syracuse, the Orange will attempt to win for their third time. In the previous two contests between the two this season, Georgetown has held Syracuse to their lowest point totals for the 2012-13 campaign, 46 and 39, respectively.

But unlike those games, the Orange are making their jump shots, and Southerland believes they can defeat the Hoyas' zone if they see it. "I definitely feel comfortable," Southerland shared. "It's all about moving. Moving without the ball. If you move, they can't guard you."

Switching focus to the defensive side, Southerland spoke on what Syracuse needs to do to prevent scorers like Georgetown's sophomore forward Otto Porter, Jr., junior guard Markel Starks, and freshman guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera from having success. "We just gotta make sure that we don't give 'em easy looks," Southerland stated. "Last game, Starks had easy looks from the three. And they actually did a good job of sharing the ball the last time we played 'em unlike when we played 'em at the Dome when Otto Porter just went off by himself." Porter, Jr., had 33 of Georgetown's 57 points in that game.

"[If] we just talk, where everybody is, and crash and get the boards, we'll be fine," Southerland added.

There is no hiding that Southerland understands the rivalry between the Orange and Hoyas, and is ready for another opportunity to emerge victorious. "Oh we definitely want this game, all of us," Southerland expressed. "And we're just gonna go in there and it's time for payback."


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