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Fast reaction: 3 takeaways from Syracuse’s 69-65 loss to Duke

first_imgOMAHA, Neb. — It wasn’t like Syracuse’s previous three games. Normally, its opponents struggle to break its 2-3 zone and high-powered offenses were often left scrambling. But this time, when the potent zone limited Duke offensively, the Blue Devils were still able to find a way to down the Orange.In the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, No. 11 seed Syracuse’s (23-14, 8-10 Atlantic Coast) magic ran out to its conference rival and No. 2 seed Duke (29-7, 13-5) on Friday night at CenturyLink Center, falling to the Blue Devils, 69-65. The Syracuse zone held Duke’s shooters to an abysmal 19.2 percent mark from 3, but SU’s 16 turnovers and inability to stop Duke’s big men proved to be the difference maker.Here are three reactions from the Orange’s season-ending loss.Battle carries first-half loadOutside of Syracuse’s play-in game against Arizona State, Tyus Battle was a non-factor offensively in the first half of the Orange’s other two NCAA Tournament games. In the opening frame of SU’s wins against TCU and Michigan State, the guard combined for a 1-for-11 performance from the field with three points. Normally, he took over the game in the second half.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textOn Friday night against Duke, Battle hit his first 3 just two minutes in. He kept attacking, finishing the first half with a trio of 3s. Battle led all players with 11 points on 50 percent shooting and added an alley-oop to Paschal Chukwu in the first 20 minutes.Battle’s first-half performance was not replicated by his teammates, most notably Frank Howard and Oshae Brissett — Syracuse’s other two main scoring threats. The duo combined for a poor 1-of-12 shooting from the field, including two missed dunks from Brissett, and turned the ball over four times. Brissett did add six rebounds and Howard three assists, but they struggled to finish.Last week in the opening frame against MSU, Howard and Brissett had three baskets apiece. In the first half on Friday, they were nearly nonexistent.Syracuse’s errors prove fatalIn a close contest like Friday night, each possession is as crucial as the next. And as Duke turned up the offensive pressure and pushed in transition, Syracuse for the most part matched the Blue Devils. But going up against Duke’s 2-3 zone also led to multiple errors by the Orange. Seven different times SU attempted an alley-oop that ended in a missed target or SU just catching the ball and restarting its offense. Normally, it resulted in a Duke transition.After one missed alley-oop from Frank Howard to Paschal Chukwu, Duke’s Grayson Allen took possession and attacked the rim. As he drove into the paint, he kicked the ball out to Gary Trent Jr. in the corner, who swished the open 3.Pair that with Syracuse’s 16 total turnovers and Duke took advantage, scoring 18 points off turnovers to SU’s eight. With Syracuse down four and under seven minutes remaining, Bourama Sidibe bobbled a pass. He lost the ball and Duke retained possession. Seconds later, Marvin Bagley III hit a mid-range jumper to put Duke up six.On a night where Syracuse kept it close, turning the ball over and questionable alley-oop passes kept making the slim margin seem much larger than it was.Duke misses its 3s but Marvin Bagley III keeps game aliveIn Syracuse’s previous three tournament games, it had not surrendered more than 56 points. The Orange limited three teams that normally averaged over 80 points a game well under their averages. On Friday night, the zone worked again, as Duke shot an abysmal 19.2 percent from 3.Some of the time, Duke had open 3s, much like it did when the Blue Devils last played the Orange. But the collapsing zone and constant pressure threw off a Duke team that shoots 39 percent from beyond the arc. Grayson Allen and Gary Trent Jr., Duke’s two main sharpshooters, combined to shoot 5-for-22, unable to pull away from the Orange.But on a night where its shooters struggled, ACC Player and Rookie of the Year Marvin Bagley III stepped up and dominated. After a first half where Bagley did not have a single rebound, he attacked the rim in the latter frame. Of his eight total rebounds, seven of them came on the offensive glass. And those second-chance points often resulted in points for the freshman.Syracuse had no answer to stopping Bagley. He was much more physical than the Orange defenders. On multiple occasions, he caught the ball in the paint and backed his defender down into an easy lay-in or dunk. Other times, an alley-oop from near the 3-point line ended in a poster dunk from Bagley. One time, he slammed the ball over Chukwu, and another time came over Sidibe.The zone worked yet again for Syracuse, making Duke work around the arc. But when its shooters struggled, Bagley was there to keep the Blue Devils’ lead intact. Comments Published on March 24, 2018 at 12:23 am Contact Charlie: csdistur@syr.edu | @charliedisturco Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

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Quarterback to Back: A Look at an Improved, More-Efficient Kenny Hill

first_imgBack to BackAttCompPct.YardsYards/AttTDINTRatingTotal QBR Mason Rudolph946872.30%113512.1111210.2592.7 With the Big 12 season upon us and the 16th-ranked Horned Frogs scheduled to visit this weekend, let’s take a look at each team’s most important player and how the two quarterbacks measure up.Mason Rudolph has been lighting up the competition at an efficient and historic clip and is fresh off of one of the biggest road blowouts of a Power 5 team by any Cowboy QB. He’s gone from a Heisman long-shot to a top-two Heisman candidate in just three weeks of the season.Across from Rudolph, Kenny Hill has quietly put together the best start of his career, captaining his team to wins over Jackson State and SMU and a win at Arkansas.Let’s take a look at the two signal callers through Week 3. Kenny Hill846375.00%7378.882175.3787.6 Last week, TCU’s defense struggled to slow down SMU. But Hill had the best statistical game of his career tossing it for 365 yards and four touchdowns while completing 80 percent of his passes. His total QBR of 96.8 was the fourth-best of any FBS quarterback in Week 3.Hill’s not put up the big numbers you’d expect from a QB whose team is averaging 49 points per game but he’s been more efficient and less inclined to force the issue, a habit that’s hurt Hill throughout his career. In 2016, he threw 13 interceptions to just 17 touchdowns. Through three games last season he had a TD-to-interception rate of 4:3. Today he’s at 8:2.Mike Gundy has noticed the improvement in the fourth-year QB.“I think Kenny Hill’s playing with more confidence,” said Gundy. “They’ve always had skill guys. You know, I don’t know all the names. They’ve got 25 and 21 and 6 and there’s another single digit I saw. Two young kids playing that are making a lot of plays. And Hill is playing better. They’re in a lot of empty now. They’re trying to spread people out and let him make quick throws or use his running ability to make plays.“I just would say that they’re playing with more confidence on offense, in my opinion.”“He’s a great athlete,” junior linebacker Justin Phillips said of Hill “and I think he has a better team around him as well this year, so he’ll be a pretty good challenge. He can throw the ball and he can run so it makes it a little harder for a defense to scheme against him.”On Saturday, each quarterback will face his biggest test of the season thus far. How each measures up to his counterpart will go a long ways toward deciding which team stays clean and which team takes a passenger seat in the Big 12 title race.If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!last_img read more

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Goal hero Balotelli can do ‘much better’, Mancini warns

first_imgItaly ‘Balotellli can do much better’ – Mancini wants more from Super Mario Patric Ridge 07:25 5/29/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Mario Balotelli - cropped Getty Images Italy Mario Balotelli Italy v Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia Friendlies Finding the net against Saudi Arabia has only partially impressed the new national team coach, who wants more from the Nice attacker Mario Balotelli must improve to be sure of his place in Italy’s starting XI, according to new Azzurri coach Roberto Mancini.Former Inter and Manchester City boss Mancini got his Italy tenure off to a winning start on Monday, as goals from Balotelli and substitute Andrea Belotti secured a 2-1 friendly win over Saudi Arabia.With no World Cup campaign to prepare for, Mancini has named a relatively inexperienced squad for his first batch of fixtures at the helm, with Balotelli returning from the international wilderness to make his first appearance since 2014. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Sorry, Cristiano! Pjanic is Juventus’ most important player right now But despite Balotelli’s scoring return, Mancini insists the 27-year-old, who is out of contract with Nice at the end of June, can offer more to his side.”Balotelli can do better, much better, but I thought he did pretty well in the first half,” Mancini said.”He scored a goal, which is important for a striker, but of course he can do more.”We all know what a player he is, he has made a great goal. Mario is an extraordinary player who can give us a great hand.”Balotelli’s superb strike put Italy ahead and, after Domenico Criscito had hit the woodwork, Torino striker Belotti added in the second half.Saudi Arabia pulled one back through Yahya Al Shehri though, with a fine save from Gianluigi Donnarumma late on ensuring the victory, and Mancini emphasised there were improvements to be made all over the pitch, with friendlies against France and the Netherlands next up.”The first half went well, as we had 16 shots on goal and 11 corners, but then as fatigue emerged later on, we lost intensity,” he added.”It’s always good to win, especially after such a long time. When you play against a stronger side, the performance will probably be higher, but our problem against France will be maintaining intensity over 90 minutes.”We’ll use other players against France, probably younger ones, and I think it’ll be a very important learning experience for them.”It was my first game, so important to win. Saudi Arabia are a long way behind us in the ranking, but they are preparing for the World Cup right now and that’s not to be taken for granted.”A victory keeps confidence high, we now prepare for France. It’s the end of the season, our players are all tired.”last_img read more

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