SU foul problems sideline big men
STORRS, Conn. – Syracuse men’s basketball head coach Jim Boeheim looked up and down his bench.
Craig Forth had just fouled out with 3:51 remaining in SU’s 88-70 loss to Connecticut on Saturday at Gampel Pavilion, and Boeheim needed a center to replace him.
The only problem, as Boeheim soon realized, was that SU’s other two big men had already fouled out.
Sophomores Terrence Roberts and Darryl Watkins each fouled out in the final 10 minutes. Roberts scored six points and collected two rebounds while Watkins didn’t score and had just two boards.
Forth scored eight points and had eight rebounds. The trio combined to shoot 6 for 16 for 14 points and 12 rebounds.
It didn’t satisfy Boeheim.
‘Our inside guys, at the very best I can say,’ Boeheim said, ‘leave a lot to be desired with the way they’re playing.’
Big East brawl
If there’s one thing the Big East is known for, Boeheim said, is that it’s a physical conference.
Saturday’s game illustrated that.
SU and Connecticut combined for 54 fouls and 75 free-throw attempts. Connecticut shot 83 percent from the line on 36 attempts while Syracuse shot 56 percent on its 39 tries.
‘It’s just the way it’s been in our league,’ Boeheim said. ‘Everyone knows that. It’s a physical league.’
Boeheim said the referees called more fouls than usual on Saturday, but compared to the rest of the country, the Big East remains the most physical.
‘The NCAAs will not be as physical as these games are,’ Boeheim said. ‘That’s the way it’s been really all year long. If you turn your TV set on at home and watch any other league playing, it’s not like that.’
Connecticut has defended one SU player better than most lately: Gerry McNamara.
The junior guard has typically seen his numbers dip against the Huskies.
McNamara scored 12 points Saturday on 2-of-10 shooting from 3-point range. Earlier in the season, McNamara scored just nine points against the Huskies with one 3.
‘They do a good job guarding him,’ Boeheim said. ‘Anybody that pressures him and keeps guys on him and jumps out (has) done a great job with him.’
Boeheim said McNamara has countered such pressure by penetrating more, which he did on a few occasions Saturday. But a combination of missed shots and other players failing to get open hurt SU.
‘Last I checked we lost to UConn twice two years ago and we did alright,’ McNamara said. ‘We rebounded the ball well and we took care of the basketball well; it’s just frustrating. We just didn’t make our shots.’
It’s tough to say Hakim Warrick struggled when he scored 25 points, but after averaging 35 points in his previous two games, Warrick’s second half against UConn could’ve been better.
The senior scored just 10 points and missed six free throws in the second half. UConn employed its Hack-a-Hak defensive style, sending Warrick to the free-throw line a season-high 22 times.
‘I think Hakim has really stepped forward the last two games,’ Boeheim said. ‘He’s been tremendous. He had a very good first half tonight. He was in position to have a huge game today.’
Warrick was named a Wooden Award Finalist this weekend as the nation’s most outstanding player.
This and that …
Syracuse freshman forward Dayshawn Wright didn’t make the trip to Connecticut. Pete Moore, SU’s assistant director of athletic communications, said Wright was sick. … Craig Forth had to leave the game for several minutes in the first half after he received a cut on his chin. … Connecticut outrebounded SU, 46-40. SU is 4-6 when it’s outrebounded. … After the game, UConn was announced as Big East Champions as it paraded around the Pavilion. The Huskies have the same conference record as Boston College, 13-3, but BC won the tiebreaker because it beat UConn earlier in the season, thus earning the No. 1 seed in the Big East tournament. … Billy Edelin traveled to Storrs with the team but did not play. He has not appeared in SU’s last three games.
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