MBB : Brown: Close games good for Syracuse prior to postseason play

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Syracuse fans, take a deep breath.Yes, the offense was atrocious. Yes, SU deserved to lose that game just as much as Louisville did.But do as Jim Boeheim said and look at the positives. There’s no need to even go near the panic button.The Orange did something Monday it has not done since Gerry McNamara was wearing a Syracuse uniform. It beat Louisville for the first time in eight tries. And it did so on the road, no less.No, it was not easy. No, Syracuse did not look good.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut amid the horrendous numbers, the Orange showed once again in its 52-51 triumph over Louisville that it can win the 50-50 games. Games where both teams have equally good chances to come out of the contest with a win. As in the type of games every team will endure at some point or another come conference and NCAA Tournament time.‘These are the type of games that you want moving forward in the season,’ Dion Waiters said. ‘They make us a better team with the things we need to work on.’It was the second 50-50 win for the Orange in three games, going back to the overtime victory over Georgetown a week ago. The argument could even be made that the victory over Connecticut falls into that category, too, because the Huskies were within two late in that game.But try not to focus so much on why these teams were able to stay with SU. Just because Syracuse is the No. 2 team in the nation doesn’t mean the Orange should run everyone out of the gym. The No. 1 team, Kentucky, hasn’t done that all season long, either.What matters at the end of the day is that Syracuse has consistently made the plays it needs to get those wins. And it did it again Monday in the toughest environment it has faced this year.‘These last (three) games we just had were games getting us ready for March,’ senior Scoop Jardine said. ‘People thought when we played Georgetown and UConn that those were gut-out wins. But to come here and beat a good Louisville team that we haven’t beaten in seven tries, to get a win by one point when nobody really played well shows what type of team we are.’That is what should be taken out of this win. The Orange likely won’t have another shooting game that poor the rest of the season. It likely won’t have another game in which Jardine and fellow senior Kris Joseph combine for seven points on 2-of-13 shooting.But even if Syracuse does, it showed Monday that it can win a game when nothing is going right.‘When those two guys struggle like that, normally, you get your two best players struggling in college basketball, you can’t win,’ Boeheim said. ‘At home or especially on the road. And they both struggled mightily tonight.’Louisville may have been as equally horrendous as the Orange on offense. But the Cardinals strung together a 16-4 run in the game’s closing minutes that would have bounced most other teams out of KFC Yum! Center with a loss.The Orange pulled it together just in time and did just enough to win.Boeheim admitted afterward SU could easily be a five- or six-loss team at this point in the season. Instead, it just knocked off a Top 25 team on the road in arguably its worst offensive performance of the year to improve to 26-1.Boeheim and his players know it wasn’t pretty.But they also know that those are the games it will have to play in March. Those 50-50 games that Syracuse has pulled out time and again this year.So far, Syracuse has done nothing but succeed — going undefeated in a three-game gauntlet against Georgetown, UConn and Louisville to reach its current point.‘You’re going to get games like this in the tournament,’ Boeheim said. ‘I don’t care who you are. You’ve got to be ready to make those plays at the end of games.’To this point in the season, the Orange has been the team making those plays.Zach Brown is a staff writer at The Daily Orange, where his column appears occasionally. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @zjbrown13. center_img Published on February 13, 2012 at 12:00 pmlast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *