Top Performer: Andrew White set the tone early with outside shooting, and then helped widen the Orange lead late with critical buckets. Not only did he lead all scorers with 22 points, but he led all players with 10 rebounds as well. White played much better on the defensive end and looked much more energized than in recent games.
Bottom Feeder: Franklin Howard did not get the start and only played one minute. Syracuse seemed to play much better in his absence, and he did not appear pleased with the move on the bench. During stretches of the game when the crowd and bench were getting into it, Howard seemed to be the lone player not joining the excitement.
Stat of the Game: 35.7%. That is the shooting percentage of Miami on non-three pointers. The Syracuse defense had more energy and effort than at any point in the season. They communicated, the guards prevented penetration and looks into the high post, trapped when appropriate and contested in the lane. It was a major step forward for the zone.
Turning Point: After a DJ Vasiljevic three cut the Syracuse lead to just one with about 13 minutes left to play, the Orange responded with a 14-3 run to push the lead back to double digits. During that stretch, Syracuse was 5-7 shooting, including 2-3 from three-point range. The Orange defense held the Hurricanes to just 1-7 shooting as well. Miami would not get the lead under 10 the rest of the night.
He Said It: "I thought the difference was our defense was better and more active. John (Gillon) I thought settled down at the point. He made some errors, but he made a lot of good plays. I think one thing about that position, when you’re hesitating or when you’re thinking about the other guy coming in – I think that’s what one of our problems has been. I think we have to go with somebody there for a while. I thought Andrew was really good. He rebounded, he shot it and he made plays. Obviously, Tyler Lydon and Tyus (Battle) was very good. Our defense, we started slow but we got better on the defensive end. That’s where we’re going to have to continue to improve if we’re going to get anywhere." - Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim.
- Tyler Lydon is a flat out stud. Some of the moves he made in this game were NBA level. The drop-step, spin and dunk he had in the second half was simply marvelous. He needs to continue to be a focal point of the offense.
- Have we seen the last of Frank Howard as a major contributor on this team? Boeheim eluded to needing to have one guy at that position and not having point guards looking over their shoulders. With Howard playing only one minute and John Gillon dishing out 11 assists, it seems it will be Gillon's job to lose.
- Thank you Tyus Battle for getting into the lane and making plays. Showing flashes of what he was in high school. His drive and dish to Roberson was a thing of beauty. He also hit a floater in the lane. Battle can drive and be a playmaker in there. He just needs the confidence to do it more consistently. He was also very good on the defensive end.
- Andrew White finally did more than just shoot against a good team. He snatched 10 rebounds, and took some strides defensively. There is still work to be done there, but it was a very positive step forward for him. Ditto Tyler Roberson who gave consistent effort and much more than simply rebounding. He was strong defensively and was able to finish at the rim time and time again.
- The season is not over and there is still hope. Who would've thought this was coming after what we saw against St. John's and Boston College? The energy, effort and enthusiasm was very, very encouraging. It seemed to be missing earlier in the season. The key now is to not let this be a fluke performance. Carry this over to Saturday's game against Pittsburgh and start to gain some positive momentum. But at a minimum, after seeing them beat a good Miami team by 15, there is hope.