16 Sep

Syracuse outworked on glass in 71-59 loss to No. 14 Buffalo

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments Published on December 18, 2018 at 11:47 pm Contact Billy: [email protected] | @Wheyen3center_img With about seven minutes left on Tuesday, Buffalo’s Davonta Jordan slid inside Syracuse’s Oshae Brissett. Jordan, a 6-foot-2 guard, stands six inches shorter than Brissett. But as UB’s Jeremy Harris rose up for a 3-pointer, Jordan established inside position near the left block. When Harris’ shot missed and deflected directly toward the left block, Jordan leaped up for the ball, came down with it and went back up to finish. His bucket broke a tie, put the Bulls up two and they never trailed again.“Coming into this game, we just knew we played harder than (Syracuse),” Jordan said. “Play hard, and things just fall right into place.”Syracuse (7-4) struggled to gather defensive rebounds all game during its 71-59 loss to No. 14 Buffalo (11-0). The Bulls hauled in 18 offensive rebounds and won the overall battle of the glass, 48-35. Syracuse is the tallest team in the country, per KenPom, but the Orange hold a rebounding margin over their opponents of just plus-4 this year. The 18 offensive boards from Buffalo on Tuesday were the most the Orange have allowed this season, and it cost them in their second-straight nonconference loss at home.It started right from the game’s opening possession. CJ Massinburg missed a jumper but gathered his own offensive rebound. Syracuse’s Elijah Hughes blocked Massinburg on his ensuing shot, but it was a sign of things to come.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBuffalo couldn’t cash in on the offensive glass early, as another possession a few minutes later finished with two misses from an offensive board in between. It gave the Bulls hope, though, believing they could win even though shots hadn’t fallen in the first half, they said after the game. But more than anything, it showed Syracuse’s centers still weren’t up to snuff.It’s been a topic of conversation all season. Head coach Jim Boeheim has criticized his centers after almost every game. Two losses in a row, to two mid-major opponents, Syracuse has been outrebounded by smaller opposition. Again, Boeheim harped on his centers’ play.“Our centers have not gotten better,” Boeheim said. “That’s pretty glaring right now.”The Bulls had to cash in eventually, and about three minutes into the second half, they started to. Harris missed a 3 but Jordan gathered in his first offensive rebound. In the second chance opportunity, Jordan got an open 3 and knocked it down. Syracuse had allowed the 6-foot-2 guard to grab an offensive rebound, even though he was shorter than all five of SU’s players on the floor.“They play a small lineup but they rebound well out of it,” Boeheim said.As Buffalo came back from its four-point halftime deficit, its offensive rebounding went dry. But that wasn’t Syracuse’s doing. Rather, the Bulls finally began to hit shots. Buffalo wasn’t changing its approach. It hindered SU’s fast break possibilities, as Boeheim pointed out that if a team can’t rebound, it can’t run. And as the Bulls had all game, they sent three or four guys to the glass every time.“They’re a physical team so they were just able to get inside position,” SU’s Jalen Carey said. “That’s things we got to learn off of. We want to rebound, and once we rebound, that’s able to get us into our offense. We want to get up and down. We had a little bit of trouble with it today, and as you could see, that’s why the game stayed the way it was.”But there was one more offensive rebound waiting to do Syracuse in. With under three minutes to go, Harris shot another 3 and missed, again. But UB’s 6-foot-8 Nick Perkins rose up along the right side of the lane. Marek Dolezaj, 6-foot-10, was in at center for Syracuse. Brissett was nearby, as were 6-foot-6 guards Elijah Hughes and Tyus Battle. It didn’t matter. Perkins rose above them all to snatch the ball.Two passes later, Massinburg sliced down the lane, spun and finished high off the glass. Buffalo didn’t cash in on all of its offensive boards, finishing with 12 second-chance points off of 17 offensive rebounds. But with Syracuse down five, less than three minutes to go and an absolutely necessary rebound suspended in mid-air, Syracuse didn’t want it enough. Perkins did.“I thought they were tougher than us,” Boeheim said, “the last 10 minutes especially.”last_img

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