MBB : Offensive behavior: Syracuse looks to correct scoring deficiencies against Marquette

first_img Comments Published on January 26, 2011 at 12:00 pm More than 20 minutes after the end of Syracuse’s 90-68 loss to Seton Hall Tuesday, Jim Boeheim finally took the podium. Somber, defeated, he strolled up, having watched his trademark 2-3 zone defense give up its most points to an opponent since a six-overtime game two years ago.And yet, in his four-minute opening diatribe, a list of things his SU team did not execute in his game plan, his first target was a sputtering offense.‘As much as our defense was bad, I think the problems we had in the first half were more offensively,’ Boeheim said. ‘We missed about seven or eight shots around the basket.’And though his defense has been exploited and exposed inside and out in Syracuse’s past three games, Boeheim has a point. Before its recent three-game slide, the Orange shot 48.3 percent from the field. In the skid, SU is shooting 39.3 percent. It sputters in crucial situations and allows opponents to get on long runs.Syracuse (18-3, 5-3 Big East) faces a dose of reality as it hits the road for its first extended in-conference road trip. That starts against Marquette (13-8, 4-4) Saturday at 3 p.m. inside Milwaukee’s Bradley Center. In its first three-game skid in five years, Boeheim admitted his team’s confidence is shaken. And the key to righting the ship starts on offense.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘When you lose (three) games in a row, you lose a little confidence,’ Boeheim said. ‘We have got to get better on offense. I think that is one of the keys.’The Orange defense has faltered in its last three games after a scorching start. In its 18-game winning streak to start the season, SU held opponents to 36.8 percent shooting from the field, good for fifth in the nation. That includes 28.1 percent from 3-point range — 10th in the country. In the past three games, however, those numbers have climbed to 50.9 and 48.2 percent, respectively.But in its great start, Syracuse’s defense covered up the larger problem — the team’s offense. The Orange’s anemic offense has been discovered during the losing streak.‘So-so,’ SU point guard Scoop Jardine said of his offensive performance during SU’s losing streak. ‘The stats are there. But it’s not there, where we need it to be.’The offensive woes started in Pittsburgh, when Syracuse was held scoreless for the first eight minutes of the game until Jardine hit a 3-pointer. In that same eight-minute span, the Panthers put up 19 points. The Orange clawed back but was never able to completely dig itself out of the early hole.And it continued as Villanova came to the Carrier Dome last Saturday before the second-largest on-campus crowd in college basketball history. While the Wildcats shot the lights out, SU went through long droughts that kept it from mounting sustained rallies. Stuck at 14 points for three and a half minutes. Stuck at 20 and 24 for more than two minutes.It all added up. And by halftime, Syracuse found itself down by double digits. After the game, senior forward Rick Jackson said the loss came down to the offensive shot selection. He only got nine shots down low, making seven of them. On the other hand, SU’s three-guard rotation — Jardine, Brandon Triche and Dion Waiters — went just 8-of-32 from the field. Jardine and Waiters went 3-of-20.‘I’m frustrated with our shot selection,’ Jackson said. ‘All day, we could have had way better shots than what we had. I think we kind of settled for jumpers, and that is what they wanted us to do. They were more aggressive than us today and it showed.’And the struggles culminated with what Boeheim called an equally poor offensive performance against Seton Hall when compared to his team’s struggles on defense.They were most present in the start of the second half, as the Orange faced another double-digit halftime deficit. But SU still couldn’t find a sense of urgency, and the Dome faithful was on its feet for the first 4:30 of the second half while Syracuse went without a basket.At the same time, Seton Hall built a 20-point lead.‘Instead of being in touch, we were 13 behind,’ Boeheim said of the offensive woes against Seton Hall. ‘We missed the layup to start the second half, and you just cannot do that.’Syracuse has as good a chance as any to get back on track against a Marquette team that is 14th in the Big East in scoring defense. The Golden Eagles give up 68.7 points per game, and they are 215th in the nation in opponents’ field-goal percentage (44 percent).Boeheim said the Orange has to take advantage of that. And that starts with a stable offense, void of the rushed, forced shots from the guards. Void of the missed layups. Void of the all-around sloppy play.‘For us to win,’ Boeheim said, ‘we have to be balanced.’[email protected]center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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