Syracuse looks to break losing streak against Georgetown in final home Big East matchup with Hoyas

first_img Published on January 11, 2013 at 9:17 pm Contact Kevin: Facebook Twitter Google+ Syracuse hasn’t beaten Georgetown in seven tries. SU’s last win in the rivalry with the Hoyas came on Feb. 26, 2008 in a 68-67 win at the Carrier Dome.The losing streak, though, hasn’t been full of one-sided games. In the last three meetings at the Carrier Dome, Georgetown’s margin of victory has been three points or less every time, including a 65-62 win on Feb. 25.In its final home Big East matchup against Georgetown, the Orange is looking to reverse the trend.“It’s four years, now,” senior guard Carmen Tyson-Thomas said. “We’re ready to take this big rivalry, and we’re home in the Dome, and we’re ready to bring it.”Syracuse will take on Georgetown on Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Carrier Dome, in the second half of a basketball doubleheader that includes a men’s noon matchup with Villanova. The Hoyas carry a 10-5 record (1-1 Big East) into the game, while the 13-1 Orange is coming off a win in Saturday’s conference opener at Marquette.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFor the team’s seniors, including Washington, D.C., native Elashier Hall, the game marks the final opportunity to beat the rival Hoyas at home. The group will get a last chance to beat Georgetown on the road on Feb. 12.The Hoyas are led by 5-foot-11 senior guard Sugar Rodgers, who has led Georgetown in scoring in each of her four years. This season, however, Rodgers isn’t just leading the Hoyas with her average of 25.9 points per game – she is also leading the nation.Syracuse counters with its own dominant force, senior center Kayla Alexander, who ranks 28th in the country averaging 19.5 points per game. Still, containing Rodgers will require a total team effort, and SU’s freshman contingent is quickly preparing for Rodgers’ quick-shooting mindset, Alexander said.“We really want this win against Georgetown,” Alexander said. “What we’ve been telling the freshmen, though, is Sugar Rodgers, you have to get up on her when she crosses half the court. Because she will shoot it from there.”Aside from Rodgers, only one other Hoya – junior forward Andrea White – is averaging in double figures, with 11.1 points per game. This reads similar to SU’s point distribution, with Tyson-Thomas the only other Orange player to average double digits with 10.9 points per game.As a team, Syracuse ranks third in the Big East offensively at 77.8 points per game – 11th in Division I– while the Hoyas are eighth in the conference at 66.3 points per game.Still, Alexander has gained respect for Georgetown defensively over her career, as the Hoyas have engaged Syracuse in a number of tight defensive battles. SU can expect a challenge from Georgetown’s defense on Saturday, Alexander said.“As far as their defense, they are really scrappy,” Alexander said. “They get after it, and they get their hands on everything. They gamble a lot.”With Georgetown’s aggressiveness, it becomes important for Syracuse to keep its offense under control. If risky or sloppy passes are kept at a minimum, Georgetown’s chances of generating turnovers decrease.Making it easier for Syracuse to stay poised should be the home environment. Over the seven-game losing streak to the Hoyas, the Orange has appeared more competitive at home – SU has lost the three home matchups by a total of six points, while losing the three road games by a total of 52 points. Georgetown won a neutral-site matchup in the 2011 Big East Tournament, 61-60.“As long as we are poised on the offensive end, taking care of the ball and not creating turnovers,” Alexander said. “If we just do our thing, we should be fine.”Over the last five years, SU has seen its effort fall short to Georgetown time and again. This year, the Orange comes into the first matchup with a better record, along with plenty of confidence from a demanding non-conference slate.The teams are certainly familiar with each other, and an SU loss on Saturday would not be for lack of knowledge of the opposition.It would be simply lack of execution.“Every game is important,” head coach Quentin Hillsman said. “We understand how to get beat; they’ve beaten us. We understand exactly what we’ve got to do to win the basketball game.” Commentslast_img read more

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