Syracuse stifles Bucknell, forces season-high 23 turnovers in 97-46 win

first_img Published on November 23, 2019 at 3:36 pm Contact Michael: [email protected] | @MikeJMcCleary Facebook Twitter Google+ Before Syracuse forced its highest turnover total of the season and ran away with a 97-46 win, the Orange started off with a mistake of their own. Not a second had ticked off the game clock and Bourama Sidibe walked to mid-court to get the tip. SU always makes him do the tip, he joked. This time, he won it easily and knocked the ball over the head of Buddy Boeheim. “Well, go get it,” Sidibe said to Buddy, laughing. Buddy chuckled and shook his head.“They’re always trying to say, ‘Oh, well you gotta get tip,’” Sidibe quipped after the game. “So when I get one, I want them to catch it too.”It was a foreshadowing of comfort in a win that never was close. The Orange’s stifling defense opened the gates for an offense that scored its highest point total since February of 2017. SU forced its 23 turnovers (the most by an opponent so far this season) and blocked a season-high 13 shots en route to the blowout win. SU’s zone caused trouble for Bucknell to convert on inside scoring opportunities and pass around for an open shot on the perimeter.“Steals, blocks, defense,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said. “We were active.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse pressured immediately to start the game. The Bison turned the ball over six times in the first six minutes of play. Looking for openings often gave SU time to poke the ball away and forcing the ball into tight spots led to easy interceptions.The Orange played Marek Dolezaj together on the court frequently with Sidibe, which closed off the interior while allowing their versatile bigs to grow comfortable to take away options on the corners. On one of the first plays of the game, Bucknell’s Bruce Moore beat Sidibe down the court and caught a pass for a transition look at the basket. The Bison tried the move again several times and each time SU got a hand on the ball or took it out of the air.Midway through the first half, and in the midst of the scoring barrage from the Orange, Bucknell swung a pass around the perimeter in hopes of finding an open shot. But when Bucknell’s Ben Robertson found a shot he liked in the corner, Elijah Hughes jumped out from underneath the rim, flew by Robertson and swatted Robertson’s 3-pointer out of bounds with his left hand. In a game where the Orange could afford simple mistakes, Syracuse’s close-outs frequently turned into blocked shots.“We moved. Everybody moved. We stepped out on the shooters,” Dolezaj said. “The key was defense today.”The loose balls from blocks and poke-aways sent Syracuse back in transition, where for the first time all season, it converted in a dominant way. Syracuse produced 37 points off turnovers and even more off of blocks that were taken the other way. One late first-half run saw SU run the same set multiple times with a shooter lined up on the opposite side as a player in the paint attacked the right side. The sequence led to two back-to-back open shots in the same spot — the first Joe Girard III, then Buddy.In the second half, the game started to settle: Syracuse’s offense built on its hot start, the Bison continued to throw the ball away and the score grew further and further apart.After five straight points from the Orange, again the ball was loose on the ground for Syracuse to take on the break. A Dolezaj block sent Hughes out on the break. A few plays after a tomahawk dunk on the baseline, Hughes was prepared for another highlight. The ball trickled out to him and his gather slipped from his hands and out of bounds. Hughes laughed and shook his head as he gave joking greetings to his teammates and approached his seat with a little over nine minutes left in the game. The lead was at 48. Syracuse emptied its bench onto the floor. Commentslast_img

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