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Bremer: Syracuse season in disarray after St. John’s thrashing

Syracuse’s 2-3 zone had more holes than a golf course in the 93-60 beat down loss they were handed by St. John’s on Wednesday night. In a season where many fans thought the Orange had a shot to go undefeated heading into ACC play, Jim Boeheim’s team suffered yet another non-conference loss, moving their record to 7-5 on the year.

The Hall of Famer opened his postgame presser with these words in his first 14 seconds at the podium, “This game is all on me, I didn’t get them ready to do what we needed to do. We just didn’t execute on defense or offense, and St. John’s did, and that was the game. Questions?”

If only the game on the court was that short and sweet.

The Orange were dominated all game, whether it be in energy, heart, or nearly every category on the stat sheet. Coming off an 8-24 season, the Red Storm are now 6-7, with losses to Delaware State and LIU Brooklyn this year. None of that mattered on Wednesday, as St. John’s forced Syracuse into 32.8% shooting overall, including 16.7% from downtown.

Throughout this year, inconsistencies have plagued Syracuse from every position. To call Wednesday’s performance inconsistent would be an untruthful compliment, considering the group was consistently woeful for the full 40 minutes. Syracuse’s backcourt (Gillon, Howard, White, and Battle) combined to shoot 6-30 from the field. Defensively, the guards have not played the top of the zone with the same energy and intensity as Michael Gbinije and Trevor Cooney a year ago.

The frontcourt offered no leadership on the defensive end either, with a high volume of the Red Storm’s points coming from flurries of three balls and dunks. DaJuan Coleman could not protect the rim, Taurean Thompson played well on offense but fouled out, and Tyler Roberson does not appear to be leaving Boeheim’s doghouse anytime soon. Tyler Lydon was a small bright spot with 16 points and 10 boards.

As the team has lost 5 of its last 8 contests, Jim Boeheim has chosen to stick with his trademark 2-3 zone for the majority of every game. It’s been clear that the freshmen and graduate transfers have struggled in adjusting to the defense, which makes many fans wonder if the Orange would be better of pressing full court earlier, or even playing half court man defense.

The zone has not boded well against outside shooting teams this year, most recently with St. John’s making 12 of 29 threes. They also struggled to defend the high post, which allowed Chris Mullin’s team to get easy kick outs to guards and passes into the post.

Back in September, Jim Boeheim told ESPN “This is the best team we’ve had in a long time.” After getting hammered by a poor St. John’s team in the Carrier Dome, Syracuse fans are all wondering the same thing: What happened to that team?

Keith Bremer is a 2015 graduate of Newark High School and is currently attending Syracuse University and is a contributor to FingerLakes1.com. Comments and feedback on this article can be posted below or directed to Keith at kbremer@syr.edu.

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