Come together

Right now. (Not right now.)

Correct me if I’m wrong, but has there been a more complete team effort win this season than this one? Major contributions from 7 guys, and it seemed that each of them carried the load for one stretch or another. Waiters had big moments in the first half. Scoop made things happen to open the 2nd half. Kris with aggressive moves late, earning baskets and trips to the line. CJ Fair with SEVEN (7) offensive rebounds, keeping momentum alive. Ricky locking down the middle and making the most of not a lot of touches on offense. Brandon following the “shooters gotta keep shooting” mantra and finding his stroke midway through the 2nd half. And of course the man of the hour, Sir Fabricio de Melo, PhD, coming up huge on both ends of the floor during the endgame. I don’t need to tell you how that went down. Looks like the coaching he’s been getting from Rob Murphy has finally paid off.

It will be interesting to see if Fab can continue his strong play tomorrow against the UConn Kembas. They have a couple of true interior players in Oriakhi and Okwandu, as opposed to SJU’s endless supply of interchangeable undersized power forwards. Melo used his size to great advantage this afternoon, but he won’t have quite the same advantage tomorrow. Plus, his conditioning has been a problem all year, so it remains to be seen if he has enough gas in the tank for back-to-back games, particularly after his season high 22 minutes played. Neither of UConn’s bigs played a ton of minutes today so both should be ready to go against SU’s front line. As phenomenal as Walker is, I have a feeling this next game will be won or lost in the paint. Whatever may come, it certainly looked today like Syracuse is coming together as a complete team, at just the right time. That is, right now.


One more thing: ESPN showed a shot of Jim Burr in the crowd. I hope he paid close attention in between beers, because this is how a game is supposed to be called. Of course there were several close calls, or non-calls, that us Orange partisans felt were poorly considered (notably the missed “offensive goaltending” call, and the touch foul by Scoop against Hardy toward the end of the game). And I’m sure St. John’s fans felt robbed by a few of the refs’ decisions as well (the travel on Hardy where he tripped over the defense in the final minute comes to mind). But overall this game was refereed consistently and clearly. They generally allowed an appropriate amount of contact in the paint, and could regularly be seen signaling that the defender was “straight up” when contact was made, and thus no foul was called. I thought they were crisp and professional, they were on top of just about every close play (even with all the fast breaking by both teams) and they didn’t draw any undue attention to themselves. Well done sirs.

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