Syracuse shooting woes prove costly in loss to St. John’s

first_imgD’Angelo Harrison’s celebration was cut short by Ron Patterson, who caught a swing pass and stroked a 3-pointer into the bottom of the net.As Patterson swiftly backpedaled down the sideline after shrinking the St. John’s lead to five with 12:29 to play, the 24,884 fans in the Carrier Dome grew louder than they had all evening.And when Trevor Cooney caught the ball on the left wing a play later, the noise crescendoed, the Syracuse bench stood in unison and every rotation of the ball actualized SU’s second-half comeback.But it hit the front of the rim. The bench sat down. So did the crowd. Syracuse didn’t make a 3 for the rest of the game.“Let me put it this way,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said. “… We’re either going to make some shots or we’re going to lose against good teams.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textA woeful shooting performance culminated in Syracuse’s (5-3) 69-57 loss to St. John’s (6-1) on Saturday night. The Orange shot 3-for-22 from beyond the arc, 10-for-20 at the free-throw line and 39.3 percent overall, all while the Red Storm focused on limiting the production of forwards Chris McCullough and Rakeem Christmas in the paint, who combined to shoot 10-of-20 from the field for 28 points.St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin said that he knew he’d give up long-range shots with his defensive game plan, and SU couldn’t capitalize on that.“We wanted to show their big men two defenders on every catch and sometimes three,” Lavin said. “So every time Christmas or McCullough got an offensive catch we wanted to swarm.“… I thought we were able to do that, be aggressive and drop down in there because they are struggling at the 3-point line. Even if they missed at least we had three, four, multiple defenders to help negate the ability to play Syracuse to play volleyball on the backboards.”Even with the Red Storm clamping down on every low-post touch, the Orange won the paint battle 32-12. But had St. John’s not devoted a bulk of its defensive energy to stopping the SU frontcourt, Lavin said it could have been 60-12.On top of doubling and tripling down on Christmas and McCullough, Lavin detailed a conscious effort to run Cooney off the 3-point line and trail him hard around every off-ball screen. The junior finished 0-for-4 from 3 with two points, and no other guard could compensate for his lack of production.St. John’s finished 9-for-16 from 3 and used two triples from Phil Greene IV to ultimately pull away down the stretch.“We tried to get a guy in there that could make a shot,” Boeheim said. “… They were going to take Trevor out and face guard him the whole game and we were going to get looks from the other two positions. B.J. (Johnson) was 0-for-3 in the first half and (Patterson) was 1-for-7. Those are the two guys that we think are our next best options from the 3-point line.”In a win against Iowa on Nov. 21 and a close loss at Michigan earlier in the week, Syracuse was buoyed by the very options that St. John’s took away.When the Orange shot 3-of-15 from 3 against the Hawkeyes, Christmas and McCullough combined for 38 points. When those two combined for 25 points — a low number for them in the early season — against the Wolverines, Cooney hit four 3s and finished with a season-high 16 points.But the Red Storm found a way to hamper SU’s low-post production in crunch time while erasing what could be its only real option from the outside.“Obviously we’re not a very good 3-point shooting team this year,” McCullough said. “We just got to get better.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on December 6, 2014 at 10:35 pm Contact Jesse: [email protected] | @dougherty_jesselast_img

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