Syracuse doesn’t necessarily have the offensive game to blow out unranked opponents, but the No. 4 Orange are used to winning tight games. Jim Boeheim’s ballclub bounced back from Saturday’s loss to Duke to knock off Maryland 57-55 on Monday for an ACC road win.
The Orange gave up a late run to Maryland and allowed the Terrapins a final shot down two with 3.5 seconds left, but Seth Allen’s three-point attempt was off as the buzzer sounded.
While the win wasn’t pretty for Syracuse, they once again showed a penchant for winning close games. Although the Orange lost two straight to Boston College and Duke, they’ve won close games against Miami (twice), Pitt, NC State and Notre Dame this season and usually have someone step up to win them the game when its on the line.
On Monday, Syracuse got big shots from multiple players. C.J. Fair (17 points) rattled home a three-pointer from the corner with 3:06 left to put the Orange up by six and on the next Syracuse possession, Trevor Cooney’s (nine points) spinning drive and free-throw line jumper gave the Orange their final necessary field goal to close out the game. From there, Tyler Ennis (team-high 20 points) made a free throw to put the pressure on and the Orange escaped again.
But Syracuse has to be concerned in these games in which only two players contribute most of their points. It’s not that Syracuse can’t win games in the 50s like they did on Monday — because they’re more than comfortable with that — but in the case of Maryland, because Seth Allen got hot from the perimeter, just one player was almost able to knock off a top-5 team.
The Orange are really good, really balanced and the 2-3 zone causes issues, but there are going to be nights they need to make sure one guy doesn’t get hot enough to beat them if their offense isn’t clicking.
This was a tough road win for Syracuse following Saturday’s loss and the Orange have to be happy about getting out of Maryland with a ‘W’.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.