September 17

Syracuse prepares for NCAA Northeast Regional coming off Big East Championship

first_img Published on November 8, 2012 at 1:06 am Contact Melissa: The Syracuse men’s cross country team turned in its worst performance of the season at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational in October. It was the only meet the Orange failed to place first as the runners struggled to break through in the congested race.SU got back on track in the Big East championship, taking the title with four harriers finishing in the top 10.“Last week we showed that we have the pieces to be a good team,” Smith said. “We just need to put everything together on the right day and we can be one of those top teams.”Though the 210-runner field set for the NCAA Northeast Regional will be less challenging to maneuver than the 316-harrier Adidas Invitational. SU found its stride on the open field at the Big East championship, but the team will need to avoid getting boxed in like it did against Wisconsin at this weekend’s meet in Madison, Conn.Coming off the Big East title, the men’s team has momentum on its side. The women’s team saw spurts of growth and decline as it finished sixth overall, two spots down from its 2011 Big East finish.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSU senior Sarah Pagano, who led the pack with a ninth-place finish in the Big East, realizes she must step up more as a leader for the young women’s team to have a strong showing in the Northeast Regional.“The region is pretty stacked this year,” Pagano said. “So our goal is to qualify for nationals, but we’re going to have to have our best race to do so.”Assistant coach Adam Smith says sticking to the fundamentals will help the team advance in the competitive field.Running two 10Ks in two weeks fatigues the body, so head coach Chris Fox’s focus was recovering and healing their bodies. In a typical week of practice the team averages 70 miles, but in an effort to restore his runners’ bodies, Fox toned the workouts down, having just three intense practices over the past two weeks.Redshirt sophomore Max Straneva is still “a little hurt” and will not compete, but Smith is confident SU can be a top team even without him. Andrew Palmer, a redshirt sophomore, will fill his spot.“Andrew is a great runner so it’s not like we’re downgrading at all,” Fox said.Straneva’s injury is minor to the team as on Tuesday night, SU redshirt junior Joe Whelan didn’t know the definitive top-seven harriers, as any nine runners could be set to run.The men’s team is deep, but Fox says the women’s team has its work cut out for it to finish with the lowest score possible.Pagano knows running with a young team has its challenges. To help the team advance, Pagano is looking to freshman Brianna Nerud.“She has been having great workouts and finding her way each race,” Pagano said. “Brianna’s a very talented freshman and I think she’ll come up big for us.”Despite the injuries and running in a larger field, the team’s depth gives it confidence as it goes for its fourth consecutive Regional title. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

September 16

No. 10 Virginia Tech steamrolls Syracuse, 78-56, in SU’s worst loss since 2016

first_imgBLACKSBURG, Va. — The Virginia Tech fanbase, clad in Hokies maroon and burnt orange, packed into the bleachers of a sold-out Cassell Coliseum, where they’re now 11-0 this season. They rallied around the Hokies with every basket. Every forced turnover. Every forced shot clock violation. They looked for any reason to cheer, growing louder as the game wore on, and the Hokies lead extended further and further out of Syracuse’s reach.A collective gasp followed every near-takeaway. The Hokies’ high-pressure man-to-man defense forced four shot-clock violations. Guard Justin Robinson freed himself up to go 9-for-13 from deep — shattering a program record for single-game made 3-pointers. They carved into the 2-3 zone with a mix of lights-out 3-point shooting, inside-out ball movement and a bevy of cuts to the rim.The Orange entered Saturday night winners of three-straight, but they played maybe their worst basketball against one of the conference’s best teams. The 10th-ranked Hokies (16-3, 5-2 Atlantic Coast) handled Syracuse (14-6, 5-2), 78-56, by moving the ball with ease and creating chaos on the SU perimeter. It’s the Orange’s worst defeat since they lost to St. John’s at the Carrier Dome in 2016.“Their defense was really, really good,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. “We did a very poor job of finding Robinson. Our offensive struggles bled over into our defense, and we don’t do a very good job of locating him. They passed it out more than most teams, and we didn’t react to it.”The loss slows a surging SU team that came to Blacksburg in pursuit of a second top-10 road win in a 12-day span. Syracuse had altered the trajectory of its season. The Orange hobbled to four nonconference losses, then lost by 14 at home to one of the ACC’s weakest teams in Georgia Tech. Road games at Duke and Virginia Tech loomed. Yet SU put up 95 points in an overtime victory over the then-No. 1 Blue Devils on national TV, and all of a sudden every game on the schedule became winnable.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThen came Virginia Tech. On numerous possessions, the Hokies left Syracuse with no room. They doubled pick-and-rolls. They were all over SU junior shooting guard Tyus Battle when he touched the ball, largely cutting off any room for him to run. He finished with just 10 points on 10 shot attempts. With the perimeter in gridlock, Syracuse didn’t find much offensive rhythm.Ideally, when a team doubles the ball handler in high-screen situations, the big bumps toward the basket. A dump-off pass is the desired outcome, Boeheim said, but that puts the onus on senior center Paschal Chukwu, who finished with two points and didn’t alter shots defensively.“Some nights, he has nothing,” Boeheim said. “Tonight, he had nothing.”The 43-24 halftime deficit seemed to jolt the Orange. For as much as Virginia Tech pressured the ball on the perimeter, gaps opened inside. The backdoor was there. The high post, mainly sophomore forward Oshae Brissett’s territory, had points written all over it. He finished with a team-high 16 points. The Orange exploded out of the half to an 11-0 run. The arena went quiet, and Virginia Tech head coach Buzz Williams called a timeout.The Hokies shot back with a 14-1 run: In time, a Virginia Tech 3-pointer pushed the SU deficit to 15. Assistant coach Allen Griffin leaned back in his chair. After Brissett missed a layup near the left block, the Hokies marched back and connected on an alley-oop to push the lead to 18. Rapid ball movement inside and out left an open Ty Outlaw on the perimeter. His shot swished. SU senior point guard Frank Howard stood still. The arena got loud, and the Hokies never looked back, pushing the lead to as much as 25.When Robinson drilled 3 after 3, the Orange could not respond. When the Hokies stripped the ball loose and pushed the ball up court for a transition score, they could not respond then either.“We knew that we had to get the ball to the high post and let the high-post guy operate,” said Robinson, who also broke the program’s career assists record. “We made great decisions in the high post, and everything just opened up. In a zone like that, they converge in the middle. So, who are you going to guard on the outside?”The options VT had on the perimeter — always at least three shooters on the floor at once — haunted SU. Boeheim said he didn’t elect to counter their 3-point approach by inserting freshman sharpshooter Buddy Boeheim because VT’s defense was perimeter oriented. Boeheim also said it didn’t help that the Orange had only one day to prepare for the Hokies, while the Hokies had four days. Their preparation time allowed them to develop a plan against the SU 2-3 zone, he said. Generally, Boeheim wants at least two days to prepare for an opponent.Over the past week, the Orange handled Pittsburgh and Miami with ease. With a second top-10 road win, Syracuse had a chance to propel itself near the top of arguably college basketball’s top conference. But the Orange ran into a wall of a Hokies defense that combined with a relentless offensive attack to keep SU at bay.“They made it tough,” said Battle, who added two rebounds and a pair of assists. “They were swarming the pick-and-rolls, clogging passing and driving lanes.”At the under-eight timeout, Syracuse trailed by 15. At the under-four timeout, the VT lead had swelled to 25. “Let’s go Hokies” boomed through the arena as dozens of Syracuse fans filed for the exits. When the final buzzer sounded Saturday night, the Orange filed into the locker room, their minds trying to make sense of the program’s worst loss in two-plus years. Facebook Twitter Google+ Commentscenter_img Published on January 26, 2019 at 10:23 pm Contact Matthew: | @MatthewGut21last_img read more