Men's lacrosse: Syracuse scorches Myles Jones, Duke defense in win

Three Orange players netted hat tricks in a romp over the two-time defending national champions.

After being destroyed in Durham last year, Syracuse exacted its revenge on Sunday by dominating Duke and shutting down arguably the country’s best player, midfielder Myles Jones. 

Now the only remaining undefeated team in the country, No. 1 Syracuse (7-0, 2-0 ACC) defeated the two-time defending national champion, 19-7, at the Carrier Dome. 

“I was really happy with the performance of our team,” Syracuse head coach John Desko said. “I think we just played well from one end of the field to the other, like the opposite of what we did when we went down to Duke last year, so we feel really good about a team that’s getting better and better this year.” 

Coming into the game, Myles Jones was the leading point-scorer in the ACC and had scored a hat trick in every game except for one. 

Against the Orange, though, he scored no goals and assisted on only one with 6:26 left in the 3rd quarter when the Blue Devils were trailing 14-1. 

“A player like Jones, you got to really slide hard or else you are probably going to get knocked over yourself,” SU defender Brandon Mullins said. “We knew we had a good midfield and we were going to slide pretty early to them. I think our game plan was pretty successful.” 

Thanks to the excellent play of Syracuse face-off man Ben Williams, who is second nationally in face-off win percentage, the Orange won the first seven draws and limited Jones’ ability to possess the ball on offense. After 10:07 of the game, the Orange had a 5-0 lead and the Blue Devils had only one offensive possession. 

“It’s night and day,” Mullins said of the advantage provided by face-off wins. “When we are winning a lot, it keeps our legs fresh in there defensively so that when they do get the ball, we can slide fast and recover and really play fast.” 

By the time the Blue Devils (7-2, 0-1 ACC) finally had opportunities to score, Jones started forcing the ball and dodging into multiple defenders instead of staying calm and making the smarter play, according to Duke head coach John Danowski. 

With an onslaught of five goals in 10 minutes and 13 by the end of the first half, the Orange’s unrelenting scoring pace put non-stop pressure on Jones to score, forcing Jones to play that way. 

The Orange scored at that pace without senior starting attackman Randy Staats, who ranks in the top 20 in the NCAA in points per game and is on the Tewaaraton watch list. 

“We all needed to bring our A game today,” SU senior attackman Kevin Rice said. “I thought Timmy Barber did a really good job stepping in. He had the diving goal. He was great on ground balls and riding. I thought everyone just came focused and ready to play.” 

Desko said Staats suffered a lower body injury during the first quarter of last weekend’s victory against John Hopkins. He said Staats should only be out another week or two before returning and is doubtful to play next week at Notre Dame. 

Part of the reason Syracuse was able to have such success on offense even without Staats was the Blue Devils’ extremely aggressive defense, which Rice said caters to the way his team likes to work on offense. 

“They come out and they play you anywhere on the field,” Rice said. “With our motion offense, that is sort of what we want. We want to be able to put people around and lead defenders where we want to take them.”

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