Afterthoughts: Syracuse scoring well without the 3-pointer bodes well for the future

first_imgIn the past two games, Syracuse scored 73 in a loss at Virginia Tech and 76 in a win against Boston College. Barring a “horrendous” defensive performance, like the Orange had against the Hokies according to head coach Jim Boeheim, putting up that many points should be enough to win.But a trend worth keeping an eye on is that SU converted on five 3-pointers in each of those games. Both tied for Syracuse’s second fewest 3s in a game this season and 10 over a two-game stretch is the Orange’s fewest in that span this season.“I think offensively we didn’t have a great offensive game,” Boeheim said on Saturday, “but we still had a good game and I think our offense can still get better.”SU (11-7, 3-2 Atlantic Coast) still rolled to a smooth 76-53 win over Boston College (9-9, 2-3) on Saturday in the Carrier Dome. With the win, Syracuse picked up its third straight ACC home win and its third win in its last four games. The Orange went 5-of-20 from behind the arc after going 5-of-17 against Virginia Tech. Still, though, SU’s offense hasn’t been hampered much as a result.How to interpret this can swing depending on the direction you look. Looking back, SU has succeeded on the offensive end even while a key part of its scoring hasn’t been tapped into. Going forward, Syracuse will likely need to hit 3s at a rate closer to, or above, its season average of 38.8 percent to take down the goliaths of the ACC, like North Carolina, which the Orange visits on Monday night.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“(Shooting 3s) was the best way for us to score last year,” Boeheim said on media day before this season. “I think we can do some other things this year. But it’s part of the game now. You want to shoot the 3. Everybody that can make ‘em can shoot ‘em.”While Boeheim hasn’t discussed the 3-heavy offensive philosophy much this season, his team is averaging 22.8 3s per game, just a 0.9 attempts-per-game drop-off from last season’s average of 23.7 3-pointers attempted.Syracuse also ranks second in the ACC and 71st nationally with 34.7 percent of its points coming via 3-point field goals, per Kenpom.com. For the Orange, managing to still score at a high rate while also scoring in different ways has to be viewed as a positive. And even though SU lost to Virginia Tech, it wasn’t because of its offense.What this means is that Syracuse is getting contributions from players, who previously would just camp out on the perimeter, on higher percentage shots closer to the basket (See: Andrew White and Tyus Battle each making six 2-pointers in the past two games each). And thus they’re also becoming tougher to defend because they’re showing they can score in multiple ways.After the Virginia Tech game, Boeheim said the Orange wanted to get more penetration toward the basket since the Hokies were closely guarding the perimeter. As the game progressed, he said, SU got to the rim more and more.At any point this year, Syracuse’s 3-point shooting can go cold. Relying on the deep ball means the Orange could be one team-wide cold spell away from the season tumbling into turmoil.But in the past two games, SU has weathered the storm with two decent offensive showings. And if Syracuse can keep attacking the basket, it could become a more well-rounded team once the 3-point shooting picks back up.***MORE COVERAGESyracuse holds Boston College’s Ky Bowman to 3 points in 76-53 winWhat we learned from Syracuse’s 76-53 win over Boston CollegeSyracuse scores 20 points off 20 turnovers in 76-53 win against Boston CollegeTyus Battle scores career-high 21 points in Syracuse’s 76-53 win over Boston CollegeGallery: Syracuse trounces Boston College, 76-53, in rematchGraphical breakdown of Syracuse’s victory against Boston CollegeThe Final Word: Beat writers discuss Syracuse’s 76-53 victory against Boston College Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Published on January 15, 2017 at 11:12 am Contact Paul: [email protected] | @pschwedslast_img

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