Freshly Squeezed (1/7)

Syracuse Extends Win Streak to Three

ehnd
MPNnow

Syracuse defeated St. Bonaventure to close out non-conference play and open their ACC slate with a triumph over Notre Dame on the road.

The Orange opened their non-league finale against St. Bonaventure with a 17-2 run capped off by a jumper by Frank Howard with 14:08 left in the first half. Syracuse would continue their hot streak into the break as they shot 57.7-percent in the opening stanza to earn a 46-25 advantage. The Orange shot 58.3-percent from the field over the course of the final 20 minutes to pull away with a 81-48 blowout victory. Leading up to the game, Howard said that they were not taking the Bonnies lightly and did not want to lose to St. Bonaventure for a second season in a row—Syracuse made sure this was no contest right from the jump.

Kyle Lofton and Jalen Poyser led the Bonnies with 12 points apiece.

The Orange were led by Tyus Battle who scored 21 points on a perfect 8-of-8 from the floor. Elijah Hughes poured in 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Buddy Boeheim added 12 points on 4-of-8 from the field.

buddy bonaventure
Inside the Loud House

Syracuse traveled to South Bend, Indiana to begin ACC play at former Big East foe Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish raced out to an early 20-10 lead on a dunk by John Mooney. The Orange pulled to within one, 23-22, with 7:52 remaining in the half. Nate Laszewski’s triple at the horn gave Notre Dame a 38-37 edge going into intermission. With Syracuse clinging to a 60-58 advantage, Hughes sparked a 10-1 spurt with a trey. The Orange refused to relinquish their lead and emerged with a 72-62 win over the Fighting Irish. Syracuse now has two Quad-1 road wins on their NCAA Tournament resume.

osbnd
The Seattle Times

TJ Gibbs paced Notre Dame with 18 points and five assists. Mooney posted a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds in defeat.

Hughes led the Orange with a double-double, recording career-highs of 22 points and 10 rebounds. The East Carolina-transfer shot 8-of-16 from the floor, including 6-of-13 from beyond the arc. Oshae Brissett finished with a double-double of his own with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Battle finished with 17 points and five rebounds.

Player of the Week: Tyus Battle

tbnd
Syracuse.com

This week’s player of the week for Syracuse was Tyus Battle. Although Elijah Hughes had a career game against Notre Dame, Battle earned ACC Player of the Week honors for his perfect shooting game against St. Bonaventure. The junior guard averaged 19 points, on 64-percent shooting, and 3.5 rebounds per contest this past week. Last season, he was criticized for his inefficiency on the offensive end. His scoring numbers are down (19.2 points per game last year, 17.9 points per game this year), but Battle has been much more efficient (48-percent shooting in 2018-19 compared to a 39.9-percent clip in 2017-18) thus far. With Hughes in the lineup, Battle has not needed to shoulder as much of the scoring load as he needed to a year ago. Improvements in Battle’s shooting and Howard’s health combined with a deeper bench should pay dividends as the Orange enter the ACC portion of their schedule. Syracuse is now 10-4 overall and 1-0 in the league.

Up Next: Clemson and Georgia Tech

Syracuse returns home for a two-game home stand against Clemson and Georgia Tech. The Orange hosts Clemson in their conference home opener on Wednesday night. Tip-off is set for 8pm. The Tigers are 10-4 on the season, 0-1 in the ACC, and are coming off an 87-68 loss to Duke on the road. Clemson is led by Marcquise Reed who is averaging 19.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 4 assists per game. Last season, Syracuse topped the Tigers 55-52 in the Carrier Dome. This will be the first of two meetings between the two schools this year.

The Orange will return to the Dome to take on Georgia Tech on Saturday evening. Tip-off is set for 6pm. Syracuse will look to avenge last year’s 55-51 loss to the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta. Georgia Tech is 9-5 overall, 1-0 in conference, and is coming off a 92-79 win over Wake Forest. The Yellow Jackets will host #9 Virginia Tech on Wednesday before traveling north to battle the Orange. Georgia Tech is led by Jose Alvarado who is averaging 13.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per contest.

Freshly Squeezed (12/24)

Syracuse Splits a Pair Ahead of Christmas Break

tbub
The Edwardsville Intelligencer

After being upset by Old Dominion, the Syracuse Orange looked to bounce back with home games against #14 Buffalo and Arkansas State.

Syracuse raced out to a 36-32 halftime advantage over Buffalo. The Bulls were not ready to relinquish their undefeated record and came back to take a 50-48 lead on a three by Jeremy Harris with 9:48 remaining. Jalen Carey responded with a layup to knot the score at 50. CJ Massinburg drained a triple and Tyus Battle connected on a trey of his own to bring the contest to a 53-53 stalemate with 8:12 left to play. Buffalo pulled away with a 14-4 run and went on to win 71-59, extending the Orange’s losing streak to two games.

Syracuse held the Bulls to 37.1-percent shooting and shot 42.1-percent themselves. It was a sloppy game as both teams turned the ball over 16 times. The difference in the game was that Buffalo drained 10 three-pointers, compared to just six for the Orange. The Bulls were 15-of-20 from the charity stripe, while the Orange converted on just 5-of-13 of their free throw attempts. For a team that struggles to score, shooting an ACC-worst of 69-percent from the stripe is a statistic that Syracuse must improve going forward.

Massinburg led Buffalo with 25 points, on 8-of-16 from the field, including 4-of-8 from beyond the arc, eight rebounds, and five assists.

Elijah Hughes led the Orange with 16 points and four rebounds. Frank Howard added a season-high 13 points on 5-of-13 from the floor, including 3-of-5 from three point land, and four rebounds. Battle tallied 11 points, while Oshae Brissett posted a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Brissett also dished out four assists in the losing effort.

Syracuse looked to get back on the right track when they hosted Arkansas State on Saturday afternoon. The Orange looked as though they had lost all confidence and the Red Wolves came out firing on all cylinders. Arkansas State took an 11-point lead (26-15) thanks to a pair of free throws by JJ Matthews with 9:32 to go in the opening stanza. Syracuse used a 20-7 spurt to take a 38-36 lead into the break. The Orange went on a 15-3 run out of intermission to distance themselves from the Red Wolves for good. Syracuse went on to score a much needed 82-52 victory.

The Orange shot 47.1-percent from the field and held Arkansas State to a 34.6-percent clip. Syracuse outrebounded the Red Wolves 37-30. The Orange forced 17 turnovers and only gave it up eight times. Syracuse connected on 27-of-33 of their attempts from the free throw line—a trend that needs to continue to improve moving forward.

Ty Cockfield led Arkansas State with 17 points, on 5-of-14 shooting, including 4-of-10 from deep, three rebounds, and five assists.

Hughes and Battle poured in 17 points apiece to pace the Orange. Hughes grabbed six rebounds and distributed three assists. Brissett finished with 15 points, on 5-of-10 from the field, and nine boards.

Marek Dolezaj earned the start over Paschal Chukwu who had struggled to rebound in the center of the zone in losses to Old Dominion and Buffalo. Chukwu responded and scored four points and corralled 13 rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench in the win over the Red Wolves.

Syracuse was without freshman guard Jalen Carey against Arkansas State as he was out nursing a hip-pointer. Buddy Boeheim stepped up with eight points in 18 minutes off the bench in Carey’s absence.

Player of the Week: Elijah Hughes

ehasu
Syracuse University Athletics

This week’s player of the week for the Orange was Elijah Hughes. Hughes averaged 16.5 points, on 44.4-percent shooting, and five rebounds. The East Carolina-transfer has added a secondary scoring punch to Tyus Battle and will need to continue to play Robin as Syracuse enters ACC play next week.

Up Next: St. Bonaventure

The Orange (8-4) will return to action following Christmas break when they close out their non-conference slate against St. Bonaventure in a Saturday matinee. Tip-off is set for 2pm. Syracuse will look to avenge last year’s 60-57 overtime loss to the Bonnies. St. Bonaventure is 4-8 and is coming off a 64-59 loss to Northeastern on Friday. The Bonnies are led by Courtney Stockard who is averaging 17.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per contest.

The Sunday Saint (12/9)

Saint Split a Pair on the Road

kdrmu
sienasaints.com

Siena went to 4-6 this season after splitting a pair of contests on the road against St. Bonaventure and Robert Morris.

The Saints were clobbered by the Bonnies in the 2018 edition of the Franciscan Cup on Wednesday night. St. Bonaventure took control of the game with a 22-3 run to end the opening stanza to take a 42-16 lead into the break. Although Siena trimmed the Bonnies lead to 22 (55-33) on a three-pointer by Jimmy Ratliff with 11:59 remaining, St. Bonaventure never relinquished the lead they built in the first half. The Bonnies ended the game on a 26-7 spurt to secure the Franciscan Cup for the third time in as many years.

St. Bonaventure put on a clinic on both ends of the court. The Bonnies shot 55.9-percent from the field and held the Saints to 32.6-percent shooting and forced Siena into 15 turnovers.

St. Bonaventure was led by Nelson Kaputo who poured in 21 points off the bench.

Ratliff was the lone Saint in double figures. The North Alabama-transfer tallied 16 points off the bench and grabbed five rebounds.

The Saints played without senior forward Evan Fisher who left last Saturday’s game against Harvard with a lower body injury.

Siena looked to get back on the right track when they traveled to take on Robert Morris on Saturday.

The Saints took a 38-32 lead into halftime and built an 18 point advantage on a three-pointer by Sloan Seymour with 16:25 left. The Colonials were not done yet. Robert Morris used a 22-4 run to take a 67-65 lead with 4:26 to go. Jalen Pickett backed down his defender to tie the score at 71 with 41.7 ticks on the clock. Pickett missed the free throw that could have given Siena the lead. The Colonials’ Josh Williams missed a layup with 18 seconds remaining, giving the Saints the opportunity to win the contest on their final possession. The Saints did just that. Kevin Degnan nailed a triple with two seconds left to send Siena home with a 74-71 victory.

The Saints shot 50.9-percent from the floor and connected on 11-of-25 (44-percent) of their attempts from beyond the arc. Robert Morris shot 56.3-percent from the field, but only made six threes.

The Colonials were led by Williams who scored 19 points.

Siena was led by Pickett who netted 20 points, corralled seven boards, and dished out seven assists. Degnan, who hit the game-winning trey, added a career-high 19 points, on 7-of-13 shooting, including 5-of-8 from deep, and seven rebounds. Manny Camper shot a perfect 6-of-6 from the field and finished with 14 points and four boards. Ratliff earned his first start of the season and recorded a solid performance with 10 points and four rebounds.

Fisher was out for the second consecutive game nursing a lower leg injury, while Sammy Friday IV also sat out against Robert Morris with a lower body injury. Ratliff and Degnan both stepped up in their absences.

Player of the Week: Jimmy Ratliff

jrrmu

Although Degnan hit the game-winner and Pickett led the Saints in scoring, the unsung hero of the week for Siena was Jimmy Ratliff. The red-shirt freshman walk-on had his two best games of the season thus far against St. Bonaventure and Robert Morris. Ratliff averaged 13 points on 9-of-15 shooting, including 6-of-11 from distance, and 4.5 rebounds. Ratliff will need to continue to step up if Fisher and Friday IV are out for an extended period of time.

Up Next: College of Charleston and Holy Cross

The Saints have a long layoff before there next game. Siena will return to action next Tuesday, December 18 when they host the College of Charleston at the Times Union Center. Tip-off is set for 7pm. The Cougars are 7-2 and are coming off a 72-64 win over Charlotte. College of Charleston is led by Grant Riller who is averaging 21.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game. Last year, the Cougars defeated the Saints 68-60 in overtime in Charleston.

Siena will have an opportunity to avenge their earlier loss to Holy Cross when they travel to Worcester, Massachusetts to battle with the Crusaders on Saturday, December 22 at noon. It is very unusual to play a non-conference opponent twice in a season, but this game was scheduled not knowing that the two teams were going to play each other in the championship game of the Hall of Fame Classic in November. Holy Cross is 6-4 and are coming off a 79-63 loss to Rhode Island. The Crusaders won the first meeting over the Saints 57-45. Jacob Grandison led Holy Cross to the win with 24 points and four assists, while Fisher led Siena with 14 points, seven rebounds, and three assists in the loss.

The Sunday Saint (12/2)

Saints Split a pair to Improve to 3-5

jph
sienasaints.com

Siena improved to 3-5 on the season this week after splitting a pair of contests against Hofstra and Harvard.

The Saints comeback fell just short on Long Island as they fell 94-86 to the Hofstra Pride Wednesday night. Hofstra sunk their first six attempts from beyond the arc and built a 45-37 lead at the break. The Pride jumped out to a 77-57 lead with 8:10 left in the game, but Siena would not go away easily. The Saints rattled off an 18-4 run that culminated with a three pointer by Sloan Seymour to pull with six (81-75) of Hofstra with 3:11 left. Siena was unable to get over the hump and the Pride escaped with the victory.

Hofstra, who shot 54.4-percent from the field and 46.7-percent from three, was led by one of the best players in mid-major college basketball, Justin Wright-Foreman. Wright-Foreman paced the Pride with 28 points.

The Saints shot 54.2-percent from the field, but connected on only 34.6-percent of their attempts from three point land. Reigning MAAC Rookie of the Week, Jalen Pickett, posted a double-double with 27 points, on 9-of-12 from the floor and 2-of-3 from deep, and 13 assists. The freshman point guard only turned the ball over once in the losing effort. He also grabbed five rebounds. Evan Fisher poured in a career-high 25 points, on 12-of-17 shooting, and pulled down seven boards. Seymour added 13 points, while Kevin Degnan finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.

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Siena looked to end their four game losing streak against the Harvard Crimson in a Saturday matinee at the Times Union Center. The Saints used a 10-3 to take a 27-22 lead into the locker room at halftime. The 22 points Siena held Harvard to in the first 20 minutes were the fewest points the Saints have allowed in a half all season. Siena used a 9-4 run to take their largest lead of the game, 52-39, with 9:12 to go. The Crimson ended the game with a 12-5 spurt, but Justin Bassey missed a potential game tying three at the buzzer. The Saints emerged with a 67-64 victory, the first home win under first year head coach Jamion Christian.

Harvard shot 50-percent from the field, but the Crimson were clearly bothered by Siena’s defensive pressure. The Saints forced the Crimson into 15 turnovers. Bassey led the Harvard with 15 points, seven rebounds, and three assists.

Siena shot 44.6-percent from the field and 34.8-percent from distance in the win. The Saints were led by Degnan, who tallied career-highs with 16 points and three blocks. He also corralled four rebounds. Pickett chipped in with 14 points, four rebounds, and eight assists. Sammy Friday IV provided a spark off the bench with 10 points and three boards.

Evan Fisher left the game in the second half with what appeared to be an ankle injury and did not return. His status moving forward is yet to be determined.

Player of the Week: Kevin Degnan

kdh
Times Union

To keep things interesting and to not give the player of the week to Jalen Pickett for the third time in four weeks, this week’s player of the week for Siena is Kevin Degnan. Degnan averaged 13 points and six rebounds and was a key reason as to why the Saints pulled of the win over Harvard. If Degnan can provide a third option to Pickett and Fisher, Siena could really benefit, especially if Fisher’s injury is serious.

Up Next: St. Bonaventure and Robert Morris

The Saints begin a two game road trip when they look to win back the Franciscan Cup against St. Bonaventure on Wednesday at 7pm. The Bonnies are 3-5 and are coming off a 90-61 win over Delaware State on Saturday. St. Bonaventure is led by Jalen Poyser, who is averaging 16.5 points per game. Last year, the Bonnies defeated Siena 75-55 in Albany.

The second game of the road trip will be at Robert Morris on Saturday at 4pm. The Colonials are 4-4 on the season and are coming off an 82-69 loss at Drexel on Saturday. Robert Morris is led by Josh Williams who is averaging 12.3 points per game. Last season, the Saints defeated the Colonials 76-74 at the Times Union Center.

The Sunday Saint

Siena off to a 1-1 start in the Jamion Christian Era

jamion
Times Union

After a tumultuous offseason that saw Siena fire head coach Jimmy Patsos amid a scandal involving mistreatment of a team manager and many changes to the roster, the Saints opened the Jamion Christian Era this week. Christian had previously coached Mount Saint Mary’s to two NCAA Tournaments in six years. Coach Christian preaches defensive pressure and three point shooting as the cornerstones of his coaching philosophy. Saints fans saw both on display in the team’s first two games this week.

Siena, who was picked to finish last in the MAAC this season, opened their 2018-19 at Big East powerhouse Providence on Tuesday. The Saints pulled themselves within seven late, but ultimately fell 77-67 to the Friars. Providence coach Ed Cooley, who previously coached at Fairfield in the MAAC, made it clear in his postgame statements that he thought Siena would not finish last in the MAAC this year. Freshman forward Sloan Seymour led the way for the Saints as he tallied 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc. Senior forward Evan Fisher contributed with 11 points, six rebounds, and three assists in the losing effort. Siena held true to Coach Christian’s philosophy as the team made 12 three pointers and forced the Friars into 15 turnovers.

The Saints had a quick turnaround between its first two games as they traveled to the nation’s capital to take on George Washington Thursday night. Siena pulled away down the stretch to clinch a 69-61 win; the first victory under Christian. Freshman point guard Jalen Pickett stuffed the stat sheet with 19 points, five rebounds, and six assists. Senior forward Kevin Degnan finished with 15 points and eight boards in the win. The Saints connected on 13-of-34 three point attempts, compared to George Washington, who shot just 8-of-18 from distance.

kevin
The Daily Gazette

Player of the Week: Jalen Pickett

This week’s player of the week for Siena was Jalen Pickett. The freshman has been tasked with quarterbacking the offensive attack for the Saints and has led the team in scoring at 13 points per contest. Most importantly, he has dished out 15 assists and only turned the ball over three times over the course of the first two games. Siena will rely on Pickett to shoulder a bulk of the ball-handling duties this season and has shown that he is up for the task thus far.

Jalen_p
The Daily Gazette

Up next: Norfolk State and Holy Cross/Stony Brook

Siena will take part in the Air Force Reserve Basketball Hall of Fame Classic presented by Citi at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut this weekend. The Saints will face Norfolk State in the first round Friday night at 8:30pm., followed by either the championship or consolation against either Holy Cross or Stony Brook.

The Norfolk State Spartans are 2-1 overall and will play at South Carolina on Tuesday night before they battle with the Saints. Norfolk State is led by Nic Thomas who is averaging 13.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.

Holy Cross is 1-1 on the season and will play at Providence before they meet with Stony Brook Friday night. The Crusaders are led by Austin Butler who is averaging 14 points and 3.5 boards per contest. If Siena and Holy Cross play each other this weekend, they will face each other for a second time, as the Saints are at the Crusaders December 22.

Stony Brook is 2-0 on the season with wins over George Washington and South Carolina and will square off against Holy Cross on Friday at 6pm. The Seawolves are led by Akwasi Yeboah who is averaging 18 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.

Weekly Round-Up (3/3)

Winners, Losers, and What to Watch

Here’s a look at this week’s winners and losers and Saturday’s premier match-up.

Winner: Virginia Cavaliers

deandre hunter
The Daily Progress

With one game left in the regular season, Virginia is seemingly a lock for a one seed in the NCAA tournament. At 27-2 overall, 16-1 in the ACC, the Cavaliers have been the most consistent team in college basketball this season, although they may not be the flashiest team we’ve ever seen. The Virginia offense scores 67.5 points per game, 310th nationally, but allows only 52.6 points per game—the best in the nation. This formula has yet to get Tony Bennett and the Cavaliers to the Final Four, but the three headed back court of Kyle Guy, Devon Hall, and Ty Jerome, combined with De’Andre Hunter, who has been an X-factor off the bench, this group may have what it takes. After losing to Virginia Tech at home, Virginia has rattled off four consecutive victories. Most recently, the Cavaliers came back to beat Louisville on the road on a banked in three at the buzzer by Hunter. Virginia closes out the regular season on Saturday at 4pm at home versus Notre Dame.

Loser: Rhode Island Rams

Rhode Island once had a chance at a four or five seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Rams began Atlantic 10 play 13-0 before losing to St. Bonaventure on February 16. After losing to the Bonnies, Rhode Island has gone 2-2 down the stretch, including two losses in the last week of the regular season to St. Joseph’s (by 30 on senior night) and Davidson (at the buzzer). Although the Rams won the A-10 regular season, their recent struggles, combined with a poor showing in Washington D.C. in the conference tournament could land them as low as an eight seed, which could negatively impact their chances of making the second weekend. If Rhode Island can turn it around, the tandem of Jared Terrell and E.C. Matthews could present the Rams as a formidable foe for a major conference opponent in the “Big Dance.”

Premier Match-Up: #9 North Carolina at #5 Duke (8:15pm ESPN)

Saturday’s premier match-up takes us to Tobacco Road for the greatest rivalry in college hoops. The North Carolina Tar Heels will enter Cameron Indoor Stadium with the hopes of sweeping the regular season series over Duke and spoiling Grayson Allen’s Senior Night. Both teams are looking for a win after losing games earlier this week. North Carolina lost to Miami on a buzzer beater by Ja’Quan Newton, while the Blue Devils lost to Virginia Tech on a last second offensive rebound put-back by Chris Clarke.

Prior to losing to the Hurricanes, the Tar Heels had won six straight and put them in position to come away with either a two or three seed come “Selection Sunday.” North Carolina seniors, Joel Berry II and Theo Pinson, would like nothing more than to upset the Cameron Crazies one last time. Berry II and Luke Maye are averaging 18.2 and 17.9 points per game, the best duo since Michael Jordan and Sam Perkins in the early 1980’s.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 10 ACC Tournament - North Carolina v Duk
SI.com

Prior to losing at Virginia Tech, Duke had won five consecutive games after losing to the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill, NC. Not only will it be Senior Might for Allen, but it will likely be the last home game for freshman Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr. who are expected to be lottery picks in this year’s NBA Draft.

In the first meeting, both defenses struggled in the first half, but North Carolina got the stops they needed down the stretch to come away victorious. The Blue Devils have switched, almost entirely, to a 2-3 zone since and have held teams to an average of 56.8 points per game since.

Expect the Crazies to be out in full force and Duke to get revenge in a close win Saturday night.

grayson allen
sportingnews.com

Duke 78, North Carolina 76