Ole Miss Shuts The Book On Syracuse’s 2016-17 Season
By Andrew Morris SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Almost halfway through the second half, Syracuse (19-15) had only seen three of its twenty shots from behind the arc fall. It took Graduate Andrew White III seven tries to finally convert on one of his patented three-point attempts. Freshman Tyus Battle failed to score until he put in a layup four minutes into the second half.
It was that lack of production from the usual steady scorers, combined with the consistent lack of outside defense that ended Syracuse’s season against Ole Miss (22-13), 85-80, in the second round of the NIT.
Battle ended up finishing the game with 23 points and White III scored 24 points when the final buzzer sounded.
The game progression reflected that late boost in buckets. After trailing the Rebels for most of the game, the Orange saw the Battle and White score eleven straight points to keep up during a back and forth second half stretch. What Syracuse couldn’t do however, something that Coach Jim Boeheim labeled as a ‘microcosm’ within the entire season, was defend the three-point shot on the defensive end of the floor.
Ole Miss sunk fifteen three-point shots on thirty-two attempts, good for a 46.9% shot percentage. The question of why SU came up blank on defense even stumped Graduate John Gillon.
“I wish I knew, because obviously if I knew, I could’ve pointed out the problem and then fixed it,” said Gillon. “It was a big problem because if you look at our scoring, we’re one of the best scoring teams altogether. But obviously if your defense isn’t good you’re not going to have success.”
After an entire season of high-volume shooting from John Gillon, Coach Boeheim was a bit perplexed at his final box scores in the NIT tournament. The guard only took three shots and scored three points in the five point loss.
“I don’t know what (Gillon) is thinking,” said Boeheim, who will coach for his final season next fall. “I have no idea. He played 52 minutes in the past two games and took three shots.”
Coach Boeheim also said he would think twice when optimistically evaluating his team early on, as he so notably did this year.
“I made a mistake. That’s it. I will never, I could have the Golden State Warriors next year here and I’d say I don’t know how we’re going to be. You can’t say something like that.”
As for other future outlook, much of the attention is placed on Sophomore Tyler Lydon, who may opt to turn professional in the upcoming NBA Draft. If he does choose to head to the NBA, he’ll end his two-year career at Syracuse shooting 47.6% from the field and averaging 11.59 points per game. Lydon declined to comment about any of his upcoming decisions until he had time to talk it over with his family and close friends.