Defensive slumps have nearly sunk Syracuse in recent weeks

first_img Comments Published on March 19, 2019 at 12:16 am Contact Nick: | @nick_a_alvarez The shot clock wound down, and Adam Charalambides was desperate. The Rutgers attack was nearly parallel to Syracuse’s Drake Porter near the crease when he flung an underhanded shot. Porter barely flinched, watching the ball bounce past him and into netting as the buzzer sounded. From the sidelines, Orange head coach John Desko walked onto the turf with extended arms. Officials convened, and the goal was awarded. It was early in the first quarter of the March 16 contest and already, it seemed like Rutgers’ offense was clicking. When asked about Charalambides’ six-goal output, Desko leaned back and took a deep breath.“That’s a great question,” Desko said. “We were a little disappointed, we had guys marking him and he backdoored us a couple times.” The play was a first for Porter in his first season as a starter. The junior goalie’s played well, posting more than 13 saves per game — the top mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Defender Nick Mellen has been regarded as one of the best defenders in the country by experts and opponents. But even with stalwarts and the talented backline, the numbers haven’t equated. No. 12 Syracuse’s (4-2, 0-1 ACC) defense has allowed multiple scoring runs in recent weeks, leading to a loss to Virginia and almost costing games against Johns Hopkins and RU. Its defense is middle of the road in caused turnovers (24th), stopping man-down chances (28th) and scoring (29th). Through six games, Syracuse’s defense is just average.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThis Sunday, the Orange host No. 2 Duke — the highest-ranked opponent they’ve played this season with a top-15 offense — so the backline might need a stronger performance to match their thriving offense. The close contest with Rutgers wasn’t the first time Syracuse stumbled with an opponent’s early game plan. Two weeks prior, Virginia’s Michael Kraus exposed SU’s struggles with “big-little” matchups on March 3. It was the first time an offense utilized that strategy against Syracuse, Desko said, and it wasn’t prepared.Kraus paced the Cavaliers with six points, including a diving play where he charged the crease from behind-the-cage and flicked a shot past Porter for one of his three goals. SU adjusted its defense, assigned specific matchups but on the final goal of the game, Mikey Herring slipped free from a screen and scored the overtime winner. “Syracuse did a really nice job defending us one-on-one, and they didn’t want to slide,” UVA head coach Lars Tiffany said. “We wanted to continue to exploit that.”Susie Teuscher | Digital Design EditorThe Orange appeared to solve their defensive problems a week later against Johns Hopkins. When the ball swung behind Porter’s net, the goalie stepped behind and pressured the ball while two poles patrolled the crease. Yet the Blue Jays still leapt to an early 5-1 advantage. Their attack seized one-on-one matchups and used ball-screens to generate space and pressure with transition. While scoring from atypical players like Brett Kennedy and Peter Dearth salvaged the win, the defense almost sunk SU below .500.And this past Sunday, it allowed a Rutgers team playing its third game in eight days to establish another early lead. The RU duo of Kieran Mullins and Charalambides handed the Orange their worst defensive-frame of the season, scoring six times in the first. Syracuse stressed the importance of stopping RU’s transition game in practice, Desko said. But even though the Orange “beat it to death” before Saturday’s game, the Scarlet Knights still tallied a couple of fast break goals. But as seen through its up-and-down defensive stretch, Syracuse has adjusted well, but its opened other gaps. This past Sunday, it came in the form of Mullins operating from behind the goal, employing a now-familiar inverted-offense. SU’s defenders dropped into a zone when Mullins dropped low. But Rutgers countered and Charalambides capitalized. The 6-foot-2 attack rotated through crossing motions and the self-identifying non-dodger caught passes and whipped in goals. He scored on all of his first five shots, once causing Dearth to bend his stick over his head and shake his head at a replay. “We went into halftime and said, ‘Enough’s enough,’” Desko said. “If others were gonna hurt us, let them do it, but we can’t give this guy anymore.” The second-half strategy centered on stopping Charalambides with the 6-foot, 227-pound Tyson Bomberry. The senior face-guarded RU’s main threat and when SU rotated assignments, that defender retained the pressure. Syracuse’s defense settled. It allowed the attack and faceoff units to solve the Scarlet Knights’ defense and goalie Max Edelmann. Eventually, the fourth quarter turned into a shootout, and the offense took over, saving the team from its first defensive slump of the season.center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Premier League action kicks off this afternoon

first_imgIn the the 3 o’clock matches in the Premier League, Chelsea will be looking to continue their strong start to the season as they host Aston Villa.Defending champions Man City pay a visit to Hull while Man United are at home to West Ham.Elsewhere, Crystal Palace entertain Leicester, Swansea visit Sunderland and in-form Southampton play host to QPR.The late game in the top-flight this evening is at the Emirates where Arsenal will play host to Tottenham in a north London derby from half-past five. Irish international Seamus Coleman is a doubt for Everton ahead of the game.Both sides have struggled to re-create their form of last season so-far this campaign.– Kick-off at Anfield today is at 12:45last_img read more

With NBA Draft date set, NCAA announces new withdrawal date

first_imgWith the NBA officially setting the date for the NBA Draft as Oct. 15, the NCAA has announce that its withdrawal date for early entrants wishing to retain college eligibility will be Aug. 3 or 10 days after the NBA Draft Combine, whichever comes first.NCAA vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt told Sporting News previously the organization had planned a withdrawal date it would announce once it got the official word on the NBA Draft but didn’t want to pre-announce out of respect for the league. The Division I men’s basketball oversight committee determined the new date “allows a reasonable amount of time for all men’s basketball student-athletes to make a choice about starting a professional career,” according to a release from the NCAA. It still is unclear what sort of process the league might follow relative to the combine and individual player workouts for specific teams. “This provides the utmost flexibility to student-athletes testing the waters to make the most informed decision about their future during this uncertain time,” Gavitt said in a release.The NCAA chose to remove its original date of June 3 when the league announced it was postponing the draft indefinitely.MORE: Key dates to know in NBA’s return However, with the established date coming well after most colleges will begin their fall terms — the University of Iowa, where Sporting News Player of the Year Luka Garza could return from the early entry list, is scheduled to begin in mid-August — the NCAA needed to establish a date farther in advance of the actual draft than the original 2020 plan had been.There are 163 collegians on the early entry list, although many already have announced they have closed to the door to a possible college return.Among the top players who could return to school, along with Garza, are Villanova forward Saddiq Bey, Butler guard Jared Butler, Gonzaga center Filip Petrusev and Tennessee big man Yves Pons.last_img read more

“We need to be more liberal” – President on dress codes

first_imgWhile there have been much talk recently about the strict enforcement of dress codes at various state agencies across the country, President David Granger is of the view that the country needs to be more liberal, calling the imposed dress codes “archaic” and “backward”.Speaking on the weekly televised programme The Public Interest on Friday, the Head of State pointed out that while the matter has not engaged government at the legislative level, it is a minor bureaucrat probably promulgating rules that are obviously prejudicial.He noted that if dress codes are causing public nuisance, then it should be remove: “We need to be much more liberal and I am in agreement with serving the public interests first. If the person is clean and decently clad and doesn’t offend public morality, I think the public services should be extended to those persons.”The President explained that it is unknown where such rules originated but noted that they seem quite archaic: “It is my view that some of the requirements in the so called code, they’re certainly not law. It seems to be a bit backward. I don’t think, in 2016, there is need for that sort of restriction; it’s an unnecessary imposition particularly when people have to travel distances to transact business with the government.”President Granger noted that the dress code issue has often been taken to ridiculous extremes. He recalled several complaints from parents in a certain part of the hinterland, who claimed that the children were being told to wear white socks and black shoes to go to school.The Head of State posited that rules such as these pose hindrances to the future of Guyana’s children as well as to the development of the country.“I have been to schools in which an entire class was barefooted, they had no shoes at all. You mean that because of the dress code, those children will be deprived of an education…they can’t afford shoes,” he stressed.He went on to say that since the 1970s, the country started moving towards comfort, especially in allowing females to dress comfortably and in accordance with the weather and what they can afford, while being conscious of the need for decency, of course.Some dress codes in effect at state agencies disallow: tights and short skirts, armless clothing, hair curlers, slippers; and short pants for men and women.While dress codes affect the daily routine of most Guyanese, the matter recently gained traction when a local columnist was denied entry into the National Communications Network (NCN) compound because she was clad in an armless dress, even though the dress code notice made no mention of armless clothing.This is the predicament Guyanese often face when going to conduct business at most government buildings. However, earlier this month the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GL&SC) had relaxed such imposition.In fact, newly appointed Commissioner Trevor Benn had explained to a local newspaper that he felt it necessary to address the stringent dress code in light of several complaints by persons being denied entry to the agency.“Most of the persons who are coming here are coming to transact business, pay their leases and so on…we must remember too that they are mostly farmers and some would have travelled long distances… For us to then turn them back because they have on an armless shirt, or are in slippers or rain boots would be us denying ourselves that transaction for which they came…we are not going to refuse money. We are right now short/strapped for money, so it would be foolish.” the Commissioner stated.This approach seems to be catching on because the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) about a week later followed suit. Chairman of GRA was quoted earlier this week as saying: “We don’t want the taxpayers to feel as if we are turning our backs on them…and more so if they are coming to pay their revenues.”The GRA was said to be one of the strictest enforcers of dress codes, with dozens of people being turned away for simple things such as cuts on the knee caps of vintage jeans.last_img read more