MBB : Cincinnati zone gives Syracuse fits; Waiters shines despite loss

MBB : Cincinnati zone gives Syracuse fits; Waiters shines despite loss

September 17, 2020 xdjmhapwdkkt 0

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm NEW YORK — Jim Boeheim knows perhaps better than anyone in the country the intricacies of a zone defense. In his mind, zones typically are better than man-to-man defense in terms of causing turnovers.And Syracuse proved that point Friday with the number of turnovers it committed against Cincinnati.‘I think when you play a zone like we played against our zone, you’re going to make a few more turnovers,’ Boeheim said. ‘And their zone is very good, very active, just like ours.’No. 2 SU (31-2) coughed the ball up 15 times against the Bearcats 2-3 zone in a 71-68 loss at Madison Square Garden on Friday. Cincinnati (24-9) played only man-to-man when the teams played earlier this year in January but employed a 2-3 zone against the Orange Friday in the Big East tournament semifinals. The 15 turnovers matched the third-worst performance of the year for Syracuse as the Bearcats’ zone repeatedly cut off passing lanes and stymied the Orange attack.‘I don’t even know what happened,’ said senior Kris Joseph, who turned it over four times in 33 minutes. ‘I don’t know why there were so many turnovers tonight. We were trying to make the right plays but guys were getting in lanes and they were getting hands on balls and keeping them alive on the court and getting steals.’AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe struggles came just one day after SU committed a season-low four turnovers in its win against Connecticut in the quarterfinals. And although the Orange plays a 2-3 zone of its own, Boeheim and his players felt Cincinnati’s defense was the cause of the mishaps.‘When a team takes something away, we have to adapt to it,’ said Scoop Jardine, whose five turnovers was the most for the Orange. ‘Today, we didn’t do it right away.’That showed early on when SU matched the four turnovers it committed Thursday before the first media timeout against the Bearcats. By then, Cincinnati had already started its barrage of 3-pointers and eventually went up by 17 points in the first half.Syracuse settled down by halftime and only coughed it up twice more after that going into the break. But facing such a large deficit, Syracuse needed to press more to mount a rally. And that only led to more turnovers.‘We were just rushing trying to get back into the game,’ junior guard Brandon Triche said. ‘We penetrated. They had active hands as well. They were getting their hands on a lot of our drives. I think we just rushed a little bit. A lot of them were unforced.’Syracuse cut the lead to single digits multiple times, but it seemed every time the Orange got within striking distance, a costly turnover allowed Cincinnati to stay in control.After SU cut the lead to five with a little more than eight minutes left, sophomore center Fab Melo got trapped on the baseline and threw the ball away on the Orange’s next possession. Triche missed a 3 on Syracuse’s next time down the floor, and C.J. Fair grabbed the rebound to give Syracuse a second opportunity. But after resetting the offense, Waiters tried to force a pass to Fair near the paint that was tipped and stolen away.‘It was tough because you’re out there playing so hard and it was like, ‘Come on. We’ve got to get one break,” Waiters said. ‘Every time Cincinnati got a break — we’d lose the ball or we’d do a dumb turnover — mentally, it’d kill everybody.’Waiters goes offWaiters couldn’t miss even when he wanted to.With SU down two and six seconds left, the sophomore tried to miss his second free throw so the Orange could potentially get a putback to tie the game. But his free throw bounced off the front rim, off the backboard and in.‘We wanted to try to miss the second one, but he’s such a good shooter he couldn’t do that,’ Boeheim said mockingly after the game.Waiters scored 28 points and went 7-of-10 from 3-point range in the loss one night after scoring 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting against UConn. The sophomore almost willed the Orange past Cincinnati himself but couldn’t quite push Syracuse past the Bearcats.He said he felt his play at the tournament reflected his aptitude for stepping up on a big stage.‘It’s the Garden,’ Waiters said. ‘It’s the mecca of basketball. The bright lights, man. I love the lights.’[email protected]center_img Commentslast_img

 

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