It wasn’t an easy win as Cincinnati led for most of the first half and stayed in the game all the way until about 5 minutes left in the game. It wasn’t pretty by any stretch of the imagination. Syracuse was led by Kris Joseph and his 17 points. Kris was by fat their best player scoring on deep jumpers and drives to the paint for most of the night.
Cincinnati took advantage of their shot makers and penetrating drives against the Syracuse zone. It seemed to work early against with Yancy Gates (16 Pts 10 Rebounds) doing most of his damage in the paint against the Orangemen big men. Again as I stated early in my Scouting Report yesterday Syracuse would struggle against penetrating drives and interior passing especially with Yancy Gates being such a tough cover. Cashmere Wright’s 17 points on 5-9 shooting from three point line also was a tough cover for Syracuse.
Although Syracuse failed to take the lead until late in the first half it was mostly on just an off night from their shooters. Scoop Jardine played a big role in their win keeping the team organized and getting their wing players good shots. Jardine finished with 13 points and 6 assists. Jim Boeheim had little patience with Dion Waiters only playing him 12 minutes and was for the most part ineffective on 1-5 shooting.
I felt as though Cincinnati went way from Gates too much in stretches in the second half. The way you beat zones is to get the ball in the high post and either drive it from their, duck in big men to the rim for high low looks, or put players at the short corners and cut them in the paint behind the zone. Cincinnati was very effective with it in the first half and early in the second, but resorted to long range jumpers. You cant beat Syracuse with just taking long ranged shots or isolating deep in the shot clock to take contested long rage shots. They just took advantage of the Bearcats in transition and eventually had Kris Johnson take the game over with his Drives.
I came away being very impressed with Joseph as an NBA prospect and the ability of Jardine to run his team and be a high level point guard at the college level. As I tweeted out last night he wont impress you with his athletic ability or scoring, but he can make winning plays and put his team in position to win. Cincinnati will continue to get better, but I think the lack of a good point guard hurts them.
Sean Kilpatrick had an off night scoring 8 points on 3-8 shooting but did grab 9 rebounds and 4 assists. The biggest stat of the night in my opinion was that Cincinnati only went to the line 9 times. They needed to get easier scoring opportunities and taking 25 three point shots only making 8 doesn’t help the fight either.