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As he’d done throughout the game, Charlie Moore pulled up from well behind the 3-point arc and sent a shot flying toward the basket. Just one minute remained in the second half, with Syracuse trailing Miami by three points and needing a defensive stop. Kameron McGusty drew a second SU defender to his spot near the left corner, freeing up room for Moore’s deep shot.
And like seven other Miami 3-pointers did in the second half, the ball sunk through the basket — with Moore turning toward the bleachers and thrusting his hand out in celebration.
Despite leading by 14 points at halftime, Syracuse allowed 58 points in the second half as zone miscues and offensive turnovers emerged again. The Hurricanes closed their deficit with a string of 3s to start the second frame, and their offense settled in over the final minutes to make key baskets and free throws. Joe Girard III led Syracuse with 26 points, while Jesse Edwards added 22 before fouling out, and Miami received 25 points from Moore and 19 from McGusty.
Here are some observations from the Orange’s 88-87 loss against Miami on Wednesday night.
3s and SU turnovers fuel Miami’s second-half run
By the time the under-16 timeout had arrived, Miami trailed by just three points. The reason why? Four 3-pointers, three SU turnovers and a newfound success attacking the Orange’s zone.
Syracuse turned the ball over on eight of its first 17 possessions of the second half, which left the Hurricanes with plenty of opportunities to attack the Orange’s unsettled defense through deep shots. Isaiah Wong didn’t score until the 10:30 mark of the second frame, when he scored-back-to-back baskets, drew a foul on Edwards and pumped both fists and roared from the right block as the ball bounced to the floor.
McGusty pulled up for 3 after driving past Girard into the paint and not finding room, taking a step back and hitting the deep shot anyway. Moore had hit a pair of deep 3-pointers from the half-court logo in the first half and added three more in the second half. When he pulled up and hit a third shot from the logo, Girard tried to respond from the logo at the other end but air-balled his shot.
SU finished with a season-high 19 turnovers, including six from Edwards and four from Buddy Boeheim.
Edwards blocks, and plenty of them
Edwards, who was ranked 14th in the country in block percentage, per KenPom, at 13.1 entering the game, finished with five blocks in the opening frame and forced Miami to abandon attempts when he was in the area. He finished with seven overall, shattering a career-high that he’d just set four days prior against Virginia.
With 9:45 left in the first half, Edwards swatted Sam Waardenburg’s shot in front of Syracuse’s bench and chest-bumped a teammate. And less than a minute later, this time on the opposite side of the zone and attempting to alter a shot from McGusty, Edwards pushed off the court, stretched out his arm and redirected the shot away from its intended trajectory.
Syracuse ended the opening frame with six and compiled two more in the second half to give it a season-high eight overall.
Edwards dunks, and plenty of them
To complement his blocks and defensive presence, Edwards served as the focal point of Syracuse’s offense against the Hurricanes. After he won the opening tip, and eventually the ball worked its way to him on the left block, Girard pushed the ball toward the right elbow and found Edwards open for the dunk. It was one of four dunks Edwards accumulated across the opening 20 minutes.
That finish continued in the second half as Miami’s defense continued pressing up on Buddy, especially in transition. Edwards finished with 22 points before fouling out and found open space near the midway point of the second frame for back-to-back dunks.
Even as Syracuse trailed by seven with under three minutes left, Buddy drove right, and a pair of Miami defenders shaded toward his path. And that left Edwards, cutting toward the bottom of the paint, with open space to corral a pass and finish another dunk — his seventh — as the Orange tried to close their deficit one final time.
And that’s without Buddy scoring until 1:50
Buddy didn’t score his first points until more than 18 minutes had passed in the first half. He’d only taken two shots before that point, as much of Syracuse’s offense tried to attack the interior or trust Girard — who made four 3s in the opening half.
He ended up fouling out for the first time this season and just his third time in his collegiate career, exiting the game with 92 seconds remaining and forcing the Orange to erase a six-point deficit without their best scorer. And he finished with single-digit points for the third time this year, snapping a stretch of three consecutive games where he scored 20-plus points.
A Benny Williams 3
Providing a glimpse of his development and potential for Syracuse, Benny Williams stationed himself behind the 3-point arc on the left side when Buddy, standing feet to his left, started to drive. It pulled the Miami defender off Williams, leaving him open for a drive-and-kick sequence that resulted in his first 3-pointer of the season.
Prior to that point, Williams had shot 0-for-6 from 3 as head coach Jim Boeheim and the Orange’s coaches tried to have him attack the interior of defenses rather than dribble away from the paint. He’s worked with graduate assistant coach Demetris Nichols pregame on those shots closer to the basket, repeating and even exaggerating his form to replicate the type of form he needs to have.
And in that sequence in the first half, with about 8:15 remaining and Williams providing a defensive spark off the bench, Buddy used the extra attention that defenses have given him to create open looks for other SU players.
The post Observations from SU’s loss to Miami: Jesse Edwards’ success, more turnovers appeared first on The Daily Orange.