Tag: Baye Moussa Keita

Baye Moussa Keita

Baye Moussa Keita could return for top-ranked Syracuse on Wednesday against Boston College

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In two games this week, No. 1 Syracuse remained unbeaten with two thrilling victories over No. 25 Pittsburgh and N.C. State. Both of those wins came without senior center Baye Moussa Keita. Though the next time the Orange take the floor, the 6-foot-10 Keita could be back in the lineup.

Keita has been sidelined the last two games with a sprained right knee, though he might make his return on Wednesday night, at home, against Boston College, according to Donna Ditota of the Post-Standard.

“If it came down to it, I could have gone out there,” Keita told the Post-Standard on Saturday. “I ran for a little bit yesterday in practice. I felt good going up and down and getting back my breathing. And getting used to the brace: I have to wear it for the rest of the season and I have to get used to it, learn how to move with it. It’s going to be a little bit weird — that’s what the doctor told me.”

With Keita unavailable this past week, Rakeem Christmas has racked up the minutes, logging 35 minutes in each game against Pitt and N.C. State while forwards C.J. Fair and Jermai Grant continue to play the majority of each game on the Cuse frontline. Getting Keita back in the rotation will help with Syracuse’s interior depth, especially since Dajuan Coleman was lost for the season last month.

Keita is averaging 2.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.0 block in just under 16 minutes per game this year for the Orange.

No. 1 Syracuse clamps down on Clemson to remain undefeated

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With five of their last eight regular season games away from the friendly confines of the Carrier Dome, No. 1 Syracuse will have some challenges to face in their quest to win the ACC regular season title in their debut season in the conference. Thus far Jim Boeheim’s team has risen to every challenge, with forwards C.J. Fair and Jerami Grant and guards Tyler Ennis and Trevor Cooney leading the way.

And against Clemson the Orange methodically took care of business, beating the Tigers 57-44 with their defense and timely shooting proving to be the difference.

Brad Brownell’s Tigers were able to hang around for much of the evening despite the Orange capping the first half with a 9-0 run and seemingly taking control of the contest. But Clemson’s failure to make shots, as they shot just 34.1% from the field, and some untimely turnovers prohibited them from truly threatening Syracuse in the second half. Clemson finished the game with 13 turnovers, with Syracuse converting those miscues into 16 points.

The Orange don’t play fast by any stretch of the imagination as they rank 343rd in the country in adjusted tempo per kenpom.com, and Sunday’s game produced just 49 possessions, but they don’t lack the ability to quickly turn mistakes into points on the other end of the floor. The points off turnovers and Syracuse’s 32 points in the paint, with Fair (19 points) and Grant (12) doing much of the damage inside, proved to be too much for Clemson to overcome.

Even in victory there are still issues that Syracuse needs to address, with the most important one being their depth in the middle of that 2-3 zone. With DaJuan Coleman already out for the season with a leg injury, the Orange can’t afford another injury or foul trouble amongst their rotation at center.

On Sunday they lost Baye Moussa Keita in the first half to what was reported to be a sprained right knee, robbing Syracuse of a player whose greatest value is in how well he defends in the middle of the zone. And with Rakeem Christmas having to deal with foul trouble there were times in the second half when Grant was asked to play that spot. Grant’s a very good athlete and against Clemson the Orange were able to get away with using him in the middle for portions of the second half, but against the better teams in the ACC they won’t be able to do that.

According to the Syracuse Post-Standard, Keita’s status for Wednesday’s game at Pittsburgh is unknown.

In the meantime Syracuse can only take care of business with the biggest games still off in the distance. Against a scrappy Clemson team the Orange did that, limiting the Tigers’ open looks and taking full advantage of their mistakes. And that’s essentially been the formula for this group all season long.