SU rumbles through Marshall

Despite its offensive struggles late in the game, the No. 3 Syracuse University men's basketball team holds on to defeat Marshall University and extend its record to 9-0.

If a fan were to look at the box score after the No. 3 Syracuse men's basketball team's (9-0, 6-0 home) 62-56 victory over the Marshall Thundering Herd (5-2, 2-1 road) Tuesday night, it would seem as though it was a close game the whole night. It would seem as though it were a barn burner or even a possible upset waiting to happen. 

Photo: Kristina Subsara
Scoops Jardine makes a shot in the game against Marshall Tuesday night.

That was not the case, however, as Syracuse led Marshall almost the entire game.

With one minute remaining in the game, the Orange had a comfortable 11-point lead on the Thundering Herd. But after a few missed free throws by Syracuse and two 3-pointers by Marshall guard Shaquille Johnson, the Orange were only up by six points with less than 10 seconds remaining in the game. Then, senior guard Scoop Jardine stepped on the baseline after the ball was inbounded, giving Marshall another chance to come within three points.

It wasn’t pretty, but the Orange prevailed in the end.

“The most important thing for us is a win,” Jardine said after the game.

It was a defensive struggle the whole night, as neither team could produce any offense. Syracuse shot 42 percent, 22 of 53, from the field, while only making 3-11 from long range. 

Senior guard Kris Joseph was frustrated by the offensive performance his team had Tuesday.

“Offensively we are a way better team than we showed,” Joseph said.

Head coach Jim Boeheim expressed concern with the offense, which was unable to break out a big lead on the Thundering Herd despite a 17-point lead with 11 minutes left in the second half and poor 3-point shooting by Marshall.

“Normally, your offense gets better in the second half,” Boeheim said. “But it didn’t work out so well for us in the second half because of turnovers.”

Only three players eclipsed double-digit points for Syracuse. Sophomore guard Dion Waiters led the way with 15, while Jardine and Joseph added 11 and 10 points, respectively. 

“The most important thing is that we are playing defense," Jardine said. "And that's what will win games. This year we are playing defense and that's going to allow us to get easy points.”

While Syracuse struggled on offense, their defense played extremely well. The Orange, who lead the nation in steals, tallied 12 on the night and caused a total of 19 turnovers. Luckily for Syracuse, these turnovers generated a good amount of offense, as the Orange scored 20 points off Marshall’s miscues. Syracuse also had 10 blocks on the night, which contributed to Marshall’s inability to make interior baskets.

“It was a defensive struggle,” Boeheim said. “But we are a defensive team.”

The Orange held the Marshall to 34 percent from field on 22 of 65 shots and only 20 percent from behind the arc. Up until the final five minutes the game, Marshall had not even tallied a 3-pointer.

With the defense being able to shut down opposing teams, Syracuse looks to improve their offense in the weeks to come. 

“Our offense is going to start clicking soon,” Joseph said. “But our defense is always going to be there for us. We are going to have to let our defense generate our offense.”


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