Syracuse men’s basketball carved up by Wisconsin, 77-60, in 2nd straight loss

first_img Published on November 29, 2016 at 11:01 pm Contact Connor: [email protected] | @connorgrossman MADISON, Wis. — Like it had done all night, Wisconsin stretched Syracuse’s defense as far as it could go. Freely choosing to funnel its offense through the perimeter or the paint, the Badgers elected for the paint on this play.Six-foot-10 forward Ethan Happ swept under Dajuan Coleman, Tyler Roberson and another defender as SU’s defense pressed around the arc. Nigel Hayes telegraphed a pass to Happ, who dunked it as the Kohl Center crowd went into a frenzy. Jim Boeheim promptly triggered a timeout, but there wasn’t much left for him to do.“We didn’t cover areas that we have to cover,” Boeheim said, “and they made pretty easy shots, pretty wide-open shots.”Happ pushed Wisconsin’s lead to 17, and capped off a 15-2 run to begin the second half. If it wasn’t apparent at that moment, SU’s game of catchup officially ended with a 17-point deficit. No. 17 Wisconsin (6-2) methodically worked its way past No. 22 Syracuse (4-2) in a 77-60 win at the Kohl Center on Tuesday night.The Badgers’ ball movement shined all game. Even when it leaned heavily on the 3 in the opening minutes, Wisconsin threaded passes through an Orange defense Boeheim praised after the team’s defeat against South Carolina on Saturday. On this night there wasn’t much to chalk up to SU’s defense.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIt was served a hard reality check that perhaps it will be thankful for come March. Syracuse spent its first five games repressing offenses far inferior than what it faced with Wisconsin, allowing an average of 54.8 points through five games. The Badgers provided a litmus test, and Syracuse didn’t take long to turn blue.“I think a lot of guys thought we were playing well defensively,” sophomore forward Tyler Lydon said. “In reality … (our previous opponents) were getting the same shots, it’s just they weren’t falling.”Perhaps the most telling stat of SU’s defeat was the assist margin. The Badgers assisted on 11 of its 15 first-half field goals (73 percent) and had 21 total helpers, more than any of their games last year.Syracuse could dish only nine, tied with Saturday’s loss for the fewest all season. In SU’s wins, the offense has funneled fluidly through point guards John Gillon and Frank Howard. Both had some of the top assist numbers in the country, and the Orange as a team had averaged nearly 19 assists per game. But it was Wisconsin who pulled its offensive strings for 40 minutes. Nigel Hayes led the hosts with a career-high 10 assists. No Wisconsin player has tallied double-digit assists since the 2011-12 season.“We did a bad job with the pace of the game,” freshman forward Taurean Thompson said. “We just played rushed. We beat ourselves.”Happ, Wisconsin’s second-leading scorer, dropped in a team-leading 24 points and exposed Syracuse’s interior defense when Wisconsin shied away from the 3-ball. He scored one early basket when Thompson got distracted on the perimeter, and dropped in another after Tyus Battle elevated toward the basket before the ball ever came out of Happ’s hands. It was the perfect offensive counter for a Badgers team that funneled its offense through the perimeter early.“All you need is one guy to not get in his position and there’s going to be an open shot,” Boeheim said.Entering the night, Wisconsin had shot only 31.6 percent behind the arc through seven games. The team’s top three scorers were shooting under 30 percent from deep. Syracuse, meanwhile, had held opponents to a 20.3 percent clip from the 3. That narrative changed quickly. Vitto Brown clanked a 3 on the Badgers’ first possession of the game, but the hosts preceded to sink 11 of their 23 tries from deep, a 47.8 percent clip.That was the quickest way for the Badgers to extend their lead that lasted nearly every minute of the contest. When it wanted to turn inside, it could. Wisconsin never lost control, and conversely, Syracuse never gained it.Said Thompson: “The first couple games we played, it wasn’t the best competition. I guess it got to our heads.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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