It’s tough to nitpick much during a nearly 40-point victory.But in the case of Syracuse’s 66-28 win over Wagner on Tuesday night, the offensive deficiencies were obvious: The Orange couldn’t knock down its 3-pointers.“The 3-point shooting wasn’t great,” SU head coach Quentin Hillsman said after Tuesday’s game. “We started off 1-for-11. You’re kind of fighting an uphill battle from there.”Syracuse missed its first 10 3-point attempts and finished the game just 3-for-20 from beyond the arc –– the most obvious deficiency the Orange (8-1) needs to fix by the time it faces Loyola (Md.) (4-4) Saturday at 1 p.m. in the Carrier Dome.Entering Tuesday night’s game SU was shooting better than 30 percent from beyond the arc after shooting just 26.8 percent a year ago. Syracuse’s 29.8 percent 3-point-shooting clip is still an improvement from a year ago, but the Orange’s borderline elite long range shooting has made it look like a potential power this season.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“What makes our team –– we can go high, we can go low,” SU guard Carmen Tyson-Thomas said. “… It helps us all come together as one and makes us Syracuse basketball.”Top-line shooting has helped make Syracuse an offensive powerhouse this season. Last year, the offense operated through Iasia Hemingway and Kayla Alexander in the high and low posts, respectively. Hemingway’s departure left the Orange without a major part of the offense, but that hole has quickly been filled by a trio of freshman guards, two of whom are shooting better than 29 percent from 3.Alexander dominated down low last season, but she’s averaging more than 21 points per game this year because defenses have to key on SU’s shooters as well.“If they come double in I know that I can just pass it to my teammates outside who are going to knock it down,” Alexander said. “… If you double down low you’re going to leave wide open shooters. If you play up on our shooters you’re going have a presence down low with me and Keya (Leary) and Taylor (Ford).”The inside-out offense works both ways, though.The shooters get Alexander free inside, but on a day whern the center dominated the way that she did, the rest of the offense should have thrived.When Alexander is scoring at will, opponents are forced to double team, just as the Seahawks did on Tuesday. In theory, this gets shooters open on the perimeter. Just as it did Tuesday.“A lot of our open 3s come from throwing the ball inside and playing inside-out. She commands double and triple teams,” Hillsman said. “… We got a few looks early and there were open looks, and we took them and we just didn’t make them.”Fortunately, on Tuesday, it didn’t matter that Alexander was double- and triple-teamed, she was still able to score at will en route to a career-high 34 points. On a day that could have ended in disaster, the center bailed out the Orange and SU won with ease.“I mean, we’re missing shots, we always can depend on Kayla, dumping down to Kayla,” Tyson-Thomas said. “… We make sure we get her the ball, and we make sure we spread the floor also, so when she gets doubled down she can kick it back out, and when we’re not making the shots we can give it down low.”But Tuesday was just one of those days.As Syracuse returned home for the first time after a seven-game road trip it was a hectic day. Classes, exams and papers were a game-day distraction for the first time in weeks.Still, the Orange got open shots and worked the ball around the perimeter well but just couldn’t get shots to fall. SU still won handily, but it wasn’t always pretty.“Tonight we just got the ball moving early,” Hillsman said. “… Overall, it’s been one of those days where we just had a lot going on. It’s been a whirlwind of a day.” Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on December 6, 2012 at 2:56 am Contact David: [email protected] | @DBWilson2 Comments
"Syracuse looks to improve shooting from beyond the arc against Loyola (Md.)"