Bailey: Syracuse, Pittsburgh carry underperforming ACC early in conference play

September 17, 2020 0 Comments

first_img Published on January 17, 2014 at 4:34 am Jim Boeheim, Jamie Dixon and Mike Brey shared an exchange while traveling together this summer.The three Big East coaches who would lead their respective programs into the highly touted Atlantic Coast Conference — the same one Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said could be the best of all time — planned to send a message in their first season.They were going to be competitive and consistent.“There’s probably a little bit of pride getting in the league and kind of establishing yourself right away,” Brey said during the ACC coaches’ teleconference on Monday. “I know for us personally, that’s something we talked about all summer.”So far, No. 2 Syracuse (17-0, 4-0 ACC) and No. 22 Pittsburgh (16-1, 4-0) have lived up to that pact, while Brey’s Notre Dame has been crippled by the loss of leading scorer Jerian Grant due to an academic issue. On Saturday at 4 p.m., the Orange will host the Panthers in a matchup of the ACC’s only two teams still unbeaten in conference play.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThey’ve throttled their competition early, as the traditional ACC powers — No. 23 Duke and North Carolina — have fallen 10 times, including seven to unranked opponents. The Orange and Panthers have barely had any close calls, with none of their wins coming by fewer than five-point margins. The Blue Devils and Tar Heels have combined for just one double-digit win in conference play.“When the ACC went out to add teams, I think their mission was to get the best basketball teams they could,” Dixon said during the teleconference. “And Syracuse and us, I think we were one in the last 10 years by a pretty good margin and they were, too.”Only two weeks into the ACC season, the two Big East transplants are doing all they can to save the group from being atrociously bad. Still, it’s just the fifth-best conference in the nation by Ratings Percentage Index, and is 11-21 against the Associated Press Top 25 teams this season.If the Blue Devils weren’t the Blue Devils, they wouldn’t even be ranked. And a one-dimensional North Carolina team that came into the Carrier Dome last weekend will have trouble going anywhere shooting 30.6 percent from the 3.“Over time, Duke and North Carolina have been pretty doggone good and have stood the test of time,” said UNC head coach Roy Williams during the teleconference. “Whether this is a bad year or a bad month or a bad week or two bad games, who knows?”Syracuse has relied on a balanced offense and an increasingly stingy 2-3 zone. The strong backcourt play from Tyler Ennis and Trevor Cooney has exceeded expectations, and C.J. Fair has been as reliable as any player in the country in crunch time.From Baylor to St. John’s to Miami to Boston College, every time an opponent has challenged the Orange, it’s protected the target on its back.Even when it doesn’t come easily, Fair said, SU has found a way — like against the Eagles. “You don’t want to force anything because your back’s against the wall, but you don’t want to play desperate,” Fair said after Monday’s game. “We found a way and we got stops when we needed it.”Pittsburgh hasn’t dealt with quite as many nail-biters. The Panthers have not faced a ranked team, and their closest margin of victory came in their 81-74 win over Georgia Tech on Tuesday.Still, despite a strong schedule outside the top 100, Pitt has leaned on uber-efficient forward Lamar Patterson. The senior has the highest raw offensive efficiency among players who are used in at least 24 percent of possessions, according to KenPom.com.The senior has slimmed down and padded his patience, and is a large reason why Pitt leads the ACC with 48.8-percent shooting as a team.“It’s been constant since his freshman year,” Dixon said. “The body wasn’t where it needed to be, and we finally reached it. You wish you could do it overnight and have a chance his freshman year, but he’s seeing the results, we’re seeing the results and he’s a good example for younger players.”Together, the Orange and the Panthers are keeping the ACC afloat in a deep national landscape.The start of the ACC schedule is comparable to Jim Halpert’s start in Stamford, Conn., on “The Office.”After a heartbreaking departure from a long and valued relationship, Jim moves in to the new office, quickly gets the best looking girl there and casually becomes the boss’ favorite employee. Fellow salesman Andy Bernard watches as the new guy in town takes his non-squeaking chair. His rage gradually builds up to the point of unleashing an angry tantrum and punching a hole through a wall.Syracuse and Pitt are Halpert. The rest of the ACC is Andy Bernard. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Women’s basketball earns dramatic overtime win

September 16, 2020 0 Comments

first_imgAfter two crushing losses this past weekend against No. 9 Oregon and No. 15 Oregon State, the women’s basketball team looked for a turnaround win against the Utah Utes on Thursday night. They went on to win 53-52 in overtime. Senior guard Sadie Edwards provided an offensive spark in her penultimate game at the Galen Center. Sunny Dong | Daily TrojanUtah entered the game without their two top scorers Megan Huff and Daneesha Provo but still kept the game competitive against USC. In the 3rd quarter, USC took a 6-point lead but Utah roared back to take a 35-34 lead entering the final period.In the 4th, the teams fought neck and neck as the teams were tied at 45 before sophomore forward Ja’Tavia Tapley fouled Utah forward Megan Jacobs with 11 seconds left in the game. However, Jacobs missed both free throws and the game headed into overtime.Utah began overtime with 4 straight points, but USC would fight back to trail 50-52 with 15 seconds remaining. USC got a crucial stop by forcing a shot clock violation with three seconds on the game clock and on the other end, senior forward Kristen Simon stepped out to hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in front of Utes’ star Emily Potter to give USC a 53-52 lead with a second left. Utah attempted a lob which was broken up by senior guard Jordan Adams, giving the Trojans a nail-biting win.“I practice that shot every day for practice,” Simon said. “I shoot almost a hundred of them.”The Trojans were led by a huge game by Simon who posted 16 points, 15 rebounds, three steals and the game-winning shot. Senior guard Sadie Edwards added 13 points and junior guard Aliyah Mazyck, who fouled out in the 4th quarter, had 10. Despite a poor shooting night for the Trojans (4 of 22 from the 3-point line), their defense shined. Utah also shot poorly at 36.2 percent and during their last two possessions, USC forced a shot clock violation and broke up a clever play to win the game. Potter paced Utah with 20 points, 15 rebounds and two blocks. Utah’s free-throw shooting (9 of 17 from the charity stripe) ultimately doomed them as they were unable to convert crucial freebies in the 4th quarter and overtime which kept USC in the game.“Hats off to Utah, they did a heckuva job on gameplan, [head coach] Lynne Roberts was excellent,” USC head coach Mark Trakh said. “They played great and we were fortunate enough to make that last shot.”USC will close the regular season by hosting Colorado. In their previous matchup, USC embarrassed Colorado 86-51 in front of their home crowd.The Buffaloes are spearheaded by lead guard Kennedy Leonard who averages 14.9 points to go with 6.6 assists and 1.9 steals. The team also features a deep supporting cast that can help shoulder the load from time to time. However, the Buffaloes have generally struggled against other Pac-12 teams.“Everybody’s tough in the Pac-12,” Trakh said. “Colorado [and Utah] are both very well coached, they play hard so it’s going to be a situation where we just have to get after it.”As the Trojans close the season, it also means that the team will be bidding farewell to three of its key players: Simon, Adams and Edwards. Simon has done an excellent job as USC’s primary post player and offensive focal point, leading the team in scoring at 17.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. Edwards has helped support the team on both ends: scoring the ball (13.8 points on average) and serving as a solid defender. Adams might not be the flashiest player but her energy, leadership and all-around game have proven to be vital to this USC squad. Saturday’s game against the Buffaloes will be the three players’ last game in the Galen Center.“[The seniors] have done a great job,” Trakh said. “I love all of them, they’ve all done a great job, they’ve all bought into everything and hopefully, they’ve had a good experience while they were here in USC.”USC is still holding out hope for a berth in the NCAA Tournament, which begins in March.last_img read more