Andrew White Carries Syracuse To the 2nd Round of the NIT
By Kevin Ryans SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Talking to the media in the player’s locker room after Syracuse’s (19-14) 90-77 first round NIT win over UNC Greensboro (25-10), Graduate Andrew White III was asked about the Orange not making the NCAA Tournament. The sharpshooter was honest about how difficult it was to learn that Syracuse was not included in the big dance.
“This is my last year here,” White said. “I wanted to leave a mark on this program with what our team did. So that’s been tough on me…Regardless of what I do in my basketball career, that’ll be something I’ll never get back.”
Some might be deterred by not making the NCAA Tournament, but White chose to make his final college basketball games a motivation, not only for himself, but for the team and its supporters. And the Forward came out on Wednesday in a big way.
White dropped 34 points and shot 7 of 9 from three-point range in the Orange’s win over the Spartans. In the process, he also broke the program record for three-point field goals made in a season. His 109 three’s eclipsed Gerry McNamara’s 107 from the 2004-2005 season.
“They had smaller defenders on me, so I was just trying to create space off the dribble,” White said. “I think our spacing was a little bit better. My teammates did a good job at looking for me and I just tried to put together an all-around game.”
SU Freshman Tyus Battle knows all too well what can happen when you leave White open from the perimeter.
“I know Andrew can shoot like that, especially going up against him in practice everyday,” Battle said. “So when he gets hot, it definitely feels like he cannot miss. So we were definitely looking for him.”
Battle had himself a pretty good game, as well. The guard scored 20 points in the 13-point victory. His freshman teammate Taurean Thompson put home 12 points and sophomore Tyler Lydon scored 13 for the ‘Cuse.
Led by White, the Orange shot nearly 56 percent from the field with nine three pointers. On the other hand, UNC Greensboro didn’t shoot the three as well. The Spartans couldn’t beat the 2-3 zone, only shooting at a 24 percent clip from behind the arc.
Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim was impressed by how the Orange was able to take out UNC Greensboro’s leading scorer Francis Alonso. The point guard, who averages more than 15 points per game, was limited to three points on one of nine shooting from the field.
“This is the first time this year that we targeted a guy and done a good job on him,” Boeheim said. “We were there for him the whole game.”
With a good all-around showing, Syracuse moves on to the the NIT second round and takes on number five seed Ole Miss Saturday, March 18th at 11 a.m. White’s mindset is to make the best of his last few games in his college career.
“There will be a lot of opportunities to play good ball,” White said. “That’s what I’m looking forward to; just making sure I’m playing at as high of a level as possible.”