Slow start continues for Syracuse
Jim Boeheim is waiting for Syracuse to get in gear. The 10th-ranked Orange sure didn't look very good Sunday.
Freshman center Baye Moussa Keita hit a tiebreaking free throw with 1:29 left and Kris Joseph added two more foul shots to help Syracuse rally for a 63-60 victory over William & Mary.
Syracuse shot just 36.7 percent for the game, including 5 of 22 (22.7 percent) from beyond the arc as the Tribe mostly sat back in a zone. The key free throws by Moussa and Joseph were the front ends of 1-and-1s, and they missed the second each time.
''We've got to make some shots. We missed some easy ones around the basket, but we're going to have to make some shots pretty soon,'' Boeheim said. ''The more we have games like this, the more teams are going play zone against us. We're going to have to find a way to put the ball in the basket. It puts too much pressure on your defense.''
Joseph had 18 points and Rick Jackson added 11 points and 10 rebounds for Syracuse, which struggled despite committing just eight turnovers to 20 for William & Mary. The Tribe also matched Syracuse with 37 rebounds, though the Orange held a 17-10 edge on the offensive glass.
''We just got to get better as a team,'' said point guard Scoop Jardine, who had 11 points and a career-high nine assists but struggled to 4-for-17 shooting. ''I give William & Mary a lot of credit, they made shots. We have to grow up fast. We're young, we're still immature in some ways.''
William & Mary (0-3), which had lost 76-52 at Virginia and 73-49 at Richmond, was shooting 24.4 percent from beyond the arc but made 10 of 22 to stay in the game against the Orange. Marcus Kitts and Quinn McDowell each had 16 points, and freshman guard Julian Boatner added 11 for the Tribe. McDowell had four 3s and Boatner hit three.
''I thought we played hard,'' Tribe coach Tony Shaver said. ''To come in here and hold our own under the boards is really impressive. I thought we played with a lot of poise for a young team. We would have liked to have been rewarded with a victory. We didn't get it, but I thought we did a lot of good things.''
The Tribe, which trailed by nine early in the second half, tied it at 52 on a 3 by JohnMark Ludwick and took the lead on a runner by Boatner.
Boatner's 3 from the left corner gave the Tribe a 57-53 edge with 5:14 left, but Syracuse clawed its way back.
Jardine hit a 3 from the right side and Jackson passed his lone steal of the game to Jardine, who fed Joseph for a layup to tie it at 60 with 2:08 left.
Matt Rum then missed a runner as the shot clock was nearing zero and Kitts missed along the baseline and failed to make the front end of a 1-and-1 with 32 seconds left.
''We haven't been playing the way we want to be playing,'' said Joseph, who missed all five shots he took against Detroit on Tuesday night. ''We haven't been tested like this. We haven't been down with 3 minutes to go. I think we showed a lot of poise ... and didn't panic. That says a lot.''
Syracuse escaped when McDowell stepped out of bounds with 8.5 seconds to go. The Tribe also watched in dismay when Ludwick hit a long 3 from the left corner with 5:42 remaining, only to be called out of bounds on a shot that would have given them a 57-53 lead.
''I'm sure the guy (referee) made the right call, but the last one was key,'' Shaver said. ''Obviously, big plays in the game.''
The Orange seemed set to pull away at the start of the second half as they had done in their first three games. After Kitts tied it with a soft hook, Jardine hit a 3 to start an 11-2 surge. Jackson's steal and fast-break reverse layup gave the Orange a 43-34 lead.
Undaunted, the Tribe put together an 11-2 run of their own as Syracuse sputtered again. A wide-open 3 from the top of the key by McDowell and a tip by Kitts tied it at 45 midway through the half.
Syracuse started fast for the first time this season, building a 10-point lead in the first five minutes. Jardine hit a 3 from the left wing, then stole the ball and fed Brandon Triche for a fast-break layup and a 12-2 lead at 15:28.
The Orange reverted to the type of play that has plagued them so far in the young season. They missed layups, made soft passes, were outrebounded and watched their lead evaporate.
After Dion Waiters gave Syracuse a jolt with seven straight points for a 23-12 edge with 6:42 left, the Tribe finished the half with an 18-9 surge. McDowell swished three straight 3s from the right side, Boatner added another, and Rum's arcing 3 from the top of the key in the final minute had William & Mary within two at the break.
''We were getting the ball inside, making some plays, then we just stopped offensively,'' Boeheim said. ''We just didn't do anything. Sooner or later that's going to catch up to you.''
Syracuse led by three at halftime in its first two games, against Northern Iowa and Canisius, and trailed Detroit by three. Without the Tribe's 10 turnovers - Syracuse scored 13 points off the miscues - the Orange would have trailed in this one, too.