Syracuse Defense Plays Key Role in Win Over Monmouth
By Nicole Hansen
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Syracuse topped Monmouth in the second round of the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational 71-50 on Friday night.
In a game that ended up not being so close, Monmouth held the game within reach in the first half, going into the break only down 37-29. The main reason Syracuse had that lead in the first place? Andrew White III.
“We really did a good job of getting Andrew [White] the ball,” head coach Jim Boeheim said after the game. “He was our offense, he kept us in there. We were struggling a little bit offensively, but he made big shots and got us some separation.”
White had 18 points in the first half, only one less than the rest of the team combined. He went scoreless in the second half, chocking up six rebounds, four assists, and two steals on the night.
The defense played a defining role in the win, holding Monmouth to only six points for the first eleven minutes of the second half. White said he thought the defense made real steps towards improving.
“I think we did a good job funneling them into the back line, I think we did a good job keeping the ball out of the high post. So all in all, I think we had a pretty solid defensive night.”
Coach Boeheim also commended the team, saying he thought the defense did a good job, particularly in the second half.
“Our defense was pretty good. We were pushing them off spots and making them take tough shots.”
White mentioned the zone, in particular, really helped get the team into position to challenge Monmouth while it took shots.
“The zone forces you to take really deep threes,” he said. “They kind of took the bait, and were taking really deep shots. So if you can make a 25-footer, you deserve to have it.”
Syracuse Senior DaJuan Coleman was another defensive factor in the game, grabbing eight rebounds and knocking down seven points.
“When I was in there, I just wanted to produce,” Coleman said. “Get rebounds, help my team on defense, score a little bit as I did, but overall, I think we’re getting better as a team.”
Freshman Taurean Thompson left the game in the second half after getting shaken up on a play and needing help off the court. Until then, Thompson had had a good offensive night, racking up a season-high 12 points.
Forward Tyler Lydon said overall, it was the contributions on both sides of the ball that really helped pull out the win.
“Anytime we’ve got guys who are capable of doing what we can do on the team, it’s a great thing,” he commented. “Everyone contributed tonight, whether it was defense or offense, you know, you need that to win.”
The Orange will look to extend its win streak to four on the season when it takes on the Bulldogs of South Carolina State in the Carrier Dome on Tuesday at 7 P.M.
Lead Image Credit: Nick Lisi, AP Images