Men’s Basketball Out-Shot by Kansas in Hoophall Miami Invitational
By Christian De Guzman
Devonte’ Graham couldn’t miss.
The Kansas guard hit three-pointer after three-pointer, and Jayhawk fans erupted. Then, Graham ran to the scorer’s table, received a basketball, and swished a half-court shot. Kansas fans roared as the ball went through the net.
That scene occurred 30 minutes before Syracuse and Kansas tipped off in American Airlines Arena. Graham’s warm-up was a prelude of what was to come. The guard made seven three-pointers and recorded 35 points en route to a 76-60 Kansas victory over Syracuse.
“Graham was really good today,” said Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim. “He just kept making a shot every time we needed something.”
Graham found himself open multiple times at the top of the arc. He stopped his dribble and pulled up from seemingly any distance beyond the three-point line. Nobody from the Syracuse backcourt could get a hand in Graham’s face in time to stop him. The senior played all 40 minutes and dominated the Orange from the opening whistle.
“When we run our 2-3 zone, we fan out when the ball goes to the middle,” said Graham. “You gotta leave somebody open. It’s usually the guy at the top. I was trying to be aggressive and shoot the ball.”
Syracuse shot woefully from the field the entire game. The Orange only scored 21 points in the first half – it’s lowest total this season. SU shot 32.1% from the field and 22.2% from three-point range.
“On offense, we just kept shooting ourselves in the foot,” said Boeheim. “We let them get away in the first half with some really bad offense.”
Tyus Battle led the way for the Orange with 22 points. Much like the last couple of games, the sophomore scored most of his points in the second half. Battle had 16 points on 5-11 shooting in the second half.
Syracuse also missed the presence of Frank Howard for a majority of the first half. The junior only played 12 minutes after recording three personal fouls in the first half alone. He played the entire second half, only picking up one more personal foul in the game. Howard finished with 15 points, second on the team behind Battle.
The only other player on Syracuse who consistently found the bottom of the net was Oshae Brissett. The Canadian recorded 13 points and nine rebounds. However, the freshman is still struggling with consistency issues from the field. Brissett only shot 3-13 from the floor and 2-8 from beyond the arc.
Graham wasn’t the only Kansas player who had a major impact. Lagerald Vick recorded 20 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. He made his presence felt around the floor. Vick either sat in the middle of the Syracuse zone or lurked in the corner for a backdoor cut. His thunderous one-handed alley-oop from Graham with 7:39 left to go in the second half gave Kansas all the momentum it needed to close out the game.
With the loss, Syracuse suffers its first defeat of the season, falling to 6-1. Kansas improves to 7-0. The Orange play next in Madison Square Garden against Connecticut on December 5th. The two teams played in New York last year, with the Huskies squeaking past SU with a 52-50 victory.