CLOSING THE GATE: Syracuse press sparks crucial 15-0 first-half run as Orange beats Colgate

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ The momentum-shifting basket seemed inevitable, yet for most of the first half Syracuse couldn’t find it.Each time the 25,519 that packed into the Carrier Dome held its collective breath in celebratory preparation, the Orange disappointed.A Jerami Grant thunderous block turned into a missed transition 3-pointer. A Grant steal turned into a Tyler Ennis travel. Syracuse missed two of its first seven free throws as Colgate led 18-15 more than 10 minutes into regulation.Then the Orange extended its press. Four straight turnovers, and five total in a 1:29 span. The fourth, a Michael Gbinije steal, turned into a transition 3-pointer for C.J. Fair.The shot pushed SU’s lead to 27-18 with 6:47 to play and keyed a decisive 15-0 run.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“We just really used our length and our speed to jump passes, try to pressure them, use our big bodies to kind of shield their vision so they couldn’t see the passing lanes,” Gbinije said.“And it worked.”Syracuse (3-0) staved off a pesky Colgate (0-2) squad 69-50 on Saturday. The Raiders hung around with the Orange until the midway point of the second half, but a pressure-filled 3:23 run in the opening stanza was the difference. Fair finished with 20 points and seven rebounds while Ennis added 12 points and Trevor Cooney 10, including five during the stretch.“We didn’t really get going like we wanted to,” Fair said. “We made strides, but the strides were just good enough to keep good distance. We didn’t really break out like we should have.”Initially, Syracuse did appear to be on its way to an easy victory. Two open Fair jumpers resulted in five points as the Raiders struggled to defend. But a 9-0 run capped by Murphy Burnatowski’s baseline jumper gave Colgate a four-point edge 5:18 into regulation.The Raiders big men succeeded in getting behind SU’s 2-3 zone, stretching the Orange wings and working the ball for open shots.“They really almost didn’t try to shoot inside,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said with a chuckle. “Their whole offense was to go in and not shoot inside, and throw it out.”Pat Moore’s 3-pointer pushed Colgate’s lead to 12-7 with 13:37 left in the first half before 6-foot-11 center Ethan Jacobs and Damon Sherman-Newsome drained 3s to make it 18-15 4:14 later.But after Grant made two free throws to give SU a 19-18 lead with 7:54 to play, he bolted toward the end line and took his place at the top of SU’s 1-3-1 full-court press — face to face with Moore who was inbounding the ball.First, Grant took the ball from guard Chad Johnson one second into Colgate’s possession. Next, Cooney stripped Johnson and earned two free throws.Then, with nowhere to pass, Moore chucked a one-handed pass downcourt that safety Baye Moussa Keita picked off. Five seconds later, Cooney buried a wing 3.“I don’t know if many presses have a guy like Jerami at the top, but that makes it so much easier,” Cooney said. “He’s so long and athletic, and his length really bothers people when he gets up in them and makes it difficult.”Coming out of a Colgate timeout, Gbinije swiped a Sherman-Newsome pass and Fair drained his 3 at the other end.Three Gbinije free throws finished the Orange run.“Once we sped them up, I think that’s when we got a little momentum,” Fair said.Burnatowski made another 3 to pull the Raiders within 30-23, but two Ennis 3-pointers helped the Orange to a 36-26 halftime lead.Two Fair jumpers to open the second half pushed Syracuse’s lead to 40-26 and the Raiders would get no closer than 11 from there.It was far from a pretty performance for Syracuse. One that Ennis said “shows us that we’re not at that level yet.”But the Grant-led backcourt harassment — if only for that short period of time — won the game for SU.“We were able to speed them up a little bit and make them make tougher plays,” Cooney said. “We were able to get tips and get steals and get out in transition. That really helps us and helps a run.” Comments Published on November 16, 2013 at 6:32 pm Contact Stephen: sebail01@syr.edu | @Stephen_Bailey1last_img read more

Syracuse staves off feisty Albany in near comeback upset

first_img Published on April 1, 2014 at 10:16 pm Contact Sam: sblum@syr.edu | @SamBlum3 It took 48 seconds for Syracuse to set the tone for what could have and should have been another quick and painless win.Amy Cross took a pass from Alyssa Murray just outside the crease for an easy first goal. By the 16-minute mark, SU had built a five-goal lead and the offense was running like clockwork.But then the shots stopped finding the cage. The turnovers mounted. Albany’s offense found its rhythm. And what looked like an easy win soon became one of SU’s toughest battles of the season.“They had a lot of heart,” SU head coach Gary Gait said. “Albany, I think played very inspired, and really gave us a tough game.“We just lost a little mental focus.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse (11-1, 3-1 Atlantic Coast) found itself in a dogfight with No. 18 Albany (9-1, 1-0 America East), but managed to slip past the Great Danes, 13-11, at the Carrier Dome in front of 532 fans on Tuesday.SU dominated on shots attempted, 33-15. It dominated on the draw, 22-4. It had four more opportunities on free-position shots. It had every reason to pull away. But Albany forced 16 turnovers on the defensive end, tallied 11 saves and scored on 11 of  its 15 shots to hang tough with the third-ranked Orange.“We’re a big momentum team, so once we start scoring we challenge each other to keep scoring as well,” said Albany attack Allie Phelan, who scored five goals. “We know they’re a momentum team as well, so we just tried to fight through when it wasn’t as great.”Syracuse entered halftime leading just 7-5, but started out the second half with three straight goals of its own to seemingly quell any hope that Albany had of pulling off the upset. A Devon Collins charge toward the net put SU up 10-5 just eight minutes in.But 30 seconds later, Albany secured a turnover and got out in transition as attack Maureen Keggins only had to beat SU defender Kasey Mock. As she ran down the field, the entire Albany contingent stood up, waiting to see if she could convert.Keggins juked past Mock and put the ball in the back of the net and the Great Dane faithful erupted.“What we talked about was not letting it really get away from us,” Albany head coach John Battaglino said. “They were so good on the draw, and we just kept scrapping, just trying to build on a goal, then a defensive stand and get back into it. Nobody was afraid to go to the net.”The shot sparked a 4-0 run for Albany, which cut the lead to 10-9 with under 11 minutes to play.The score seesawed down the stretch. Syracuse would score, but Albany would come right back, and it wasn’t until Kayla Treanor gave the Orange a 13-11 lead on a free-position shot with 3:08 to play that Syracuse had any semblance of control.After the Orange controlled the draw, closing it out meant just holding on to the ball.“I think everyone wants the ball at the end of the game,” Treanor said. “Everyone wants to score at the end of the game. It’s just about being patient and getting the right opportunity and it just opened up and I got an opportunity.”The tone of Syracuse’s postgame press conference was one more of relief than satisfaction.The statistics show a game that Syracuse should have won far more easily. The final score shows a game that Albany fought just to stay afloat.“It’s definitely frustrating,” Murray said. “I think every time we get the opportunity, we want to score, we want to put the ball away. Some of it’s a little bit of bad luck, hitting the pipe a couple times. But it’s just the way the game goes.“A win’s a win and we were able to pull it out.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more