Fool me once: Orange looks to avoid 2nd upset versus Le Moyne

first_img Comments Published on November 8, 2010 at 12:00 pm After Syracuse’s shocking exhibition loss to Le Moyne a year ago, Jim Boeheim made it clear that the Orange learned nothing from its previous game against Cal State-Los Angeles. It had dismantled the Golden Eagles by 43. It didn’t prepare the Orange for the following game, nine days later. That game, a much-publicized upset loss to Le Moyne, was the first part of the learning process that ultimately led SU to a No. 1 ranking. ‘The first game didn’t help us,’ Boeheim said after the 2009 loss to Le Moyne. ‘I thought (Cal State-Los Angeles) didn’t attack us very well. They just moved the ball around and took shots that weren’t really good shots. ‘It was too easy.’ With the three-point loss to the Dolphins in 2009, an entire city saw a game that was the furthest thing from easy. SU’s cross-town little brother had gone into the Carrier Dome and stolen a meaningless game from the Orange.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text But following the loss, Boeheim maintained that this loss was, in fact, a game from which his team could take meaning. It could learn from the loss, unlike the previous win. One year later, Boeheim’s postgame comments following the Orange’s eerily similar 96-60 win over Kutztown last Tuesday were in stark contrast to his remarks from last year. The similarities might be there in the team’s exhibition openers from 2009 and 2010. The scores are nearly identical. The feelings to the games were much the same. In both years, a surprising freshman stole the show. In 2009, it was James Southerland and his team-leading 19 points. This year, it was C.J. Fair. But the Orange learned lessons with the win this time around. And as a result, Boeheim doesn’t anticipate another shocking loss for the No. 10 Orange. ‘I thought we played well,’ Boeheim said. ‘We played against a team that knows what they are doing, they win and they’re smart. Obviously we have a size advantage, but we forced a lot of turnovers, which is a good sign when we are playing against a smaller team. ‘I thought it was a good night out.’ Boeheim will be looking for another similar progressive performance from his 2010 team when Le Moyne returns to the Dome Tuesday at 7 p.m. for the first time since its monumental upset last year. The Dolphins, who finished 18-10 in the 2009-10 regular season after defeating SU, lost its two leading scorers from last season, Damani Corbin and Laurence Ekperigin. But the Dolphins return junior guard Chris Johnson, the man who silenced Syracuse fans last year with a game-winning 3-pointer with nine seconds left. The goat last year was SU forward Kris Joseph, as he failed to contest Johnson’s final shot as Boeheim desired. But after Syracuse’s win over Kutztown last week, there was no mention of Johnson or last year from Joseph. He was in the moment, speaking of what he felt the SU youngsters did well in their initial outing versus Kutztown. The Orange’s freshmen and juniors started the second half against Kutztown together, instead of Joseph and his fellow starters. And Joseph was addressing that, not Johnson. ‘Every year I feel like we have seven guys who get the bulk of the time,’ Joseph said in the SU locker room following the Kutztown game. ‘But we also have guys eight, nine, and 10 — guys who are just as good. … So I think Coach (Boeheim) just really wants to get them into the game, even for eight minutes, just to see what they can do.’ In the loss to Le Moyne last year, the Orange was ridiculed for its poor man-to-man defensive play against a much less athletic team. After the game, Boeheim said he played the majority of the game in man, not SU’s trademark 2-3 zone, to analyze the tape of SU playing man for later in the season. The approach wasn’t so much for winning the game as it was using exhibition time to learn about his team. But what ensued was an exhibition from Le Moyne in slashing and cutting for shots against a lazy man defense. It was exemplified on Johnson’s game-winning shot. This time around, Boeheim has already experienced one game in which his team executed against a smart team. The lessons were learned in Game 1, rather than saving them for a crash course in Game 2. But he took the time out to commend the play of SU’s two main big men for the 2010-11 season: Rick Jackson and Fab Melo. ‘Rick (Jackson) got us off to a great start,’ Boeheim said. ‘I think Rick and Fab (Melo) have worked well together for it just being a couple weeks so far, and I think that’s a promising thing.’ Against the Dolphins, Jackson and Melo will be called upon to perform well against their slashing style of basketball. After the 2009 loss, Boeheim let it be known that he felt former SU center Arinze Onuaku had trouble against the much smaller Dolphins bigs last year. The struggles were a main factor in SU losing. And Jackson thinks Melo will be able to facilitate an Orange win. Unlike Onuaku last year, Melo will be able to run the floor unhindered. That mobility helps against the pesky little brother from the same city. ‘I think he is a great big guy. Seven-foot and mobile,’ Jackson said. ‘He is definitely going to get better. … He did a good job tonight.’ [email protected]center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

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