It started with 10 unanswered points. 3-pointers came easier than usual. The inside of Niagara’s defense was filled with forwards the same size as Buddy Boeheim, with one lineup featuring 5-foot-9 and 5-foot-10 guards together. Syracuse was bigger, more talented than a team with just two wins heading into 2020, so a 10-0 run to start the game came as no surprise. But that three-minute stretch was the only thing that separated Saturday’s game from being a close one. Because for the third straight time, the Orange struggled to blowout another mid-major opponent.“We never got back in the rhythm,” head coach Jim Boeheim said. “We won just because we’re ahead.”After back-to-back 12-point victories to Oakland and North Florida, Syracuse (8-5, 1-1 Atlantic Coast), favored by 22 points, struggled to dominate Niagara (2-9) like it was supposed to. There wasn’t an unloading of SU’s bench — in-part because of injuries plaguing the Orange — the way most of Syracuse’s peers do at home when facing mid-majors with 2-8 records. Niagara shot just 32% from the field and 22% from the 3-point line in a Syracuse 71-57 win that featured 16 Orange turnovers. The victory ends Syracuse’s nonconference play with five losses, one more than last season when the Orange were on the bubble for most of the year. The Orange haven’t beaten a team ranked in KenPom’s top 100. And against its last three opponents with a combined record of 15-24, SU hasn’t been able to pull away the same way it did against Bucknell and Georgia Tech earlier this season. AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“When you get an easy lead, an early lead, it does sometimes take away from what you should be doing,” Boeheim said. “It shouldn’t happen but it happens.”Syracuse’s early scoring was a byproduct of its 3-point shooting, which at times has become the backbone of this season’s team. Buddy Boeheim nailed two 3s in the first three minutes. Elijah Hughes drove inside and hit an off-balance shot from the elbow. Then Hughes (19 points, nine rebounds, nine assists), off a cross-court pass from Buddy, swished a fadeaway 3-pointer, part of the Orange’s 17-2 start.Boeheim, as expected, went to his bench five minutes into the game. Maybe Jesse Edwards at 6-foot-11 could’ve bullied around smaller forwards on switches, but he was out with an ankle injury. Perhaps Howard Washington could’ve hit some shots to stop the run, but he was out with a knee injury. So Quincy Guerrier, coming off one of his best games of the season (10 points, seven rebounds), and Robert Braswell checked in and “completely turned the game,” Boeheim said. SU’s lead slowly dwindled. “You’re not thinking of that at the time,” Joe Girard III said of letting Niagara hang around, “But it is frustrating.” Double-teaming Niagara ball-handlers in the half court, which created two early turnovers in the opening minutes, backfired as six of the Purple Eagles’ first eight buckets were easy layups after breakdowns. Despite Syracuse’s size disadvantage on defense — 6-foot-10 Bourama Sidibe manning the middle — players like Greg Kuakumensah were most comfortable under the bucket rather than beyond the arc, as 22 of the Purple Eagles’ 28 first half points came in the paint.“We just need to do a better job on defense — help more, denying it,” Marek Dolezaj said.Niagara didn’t play like the team that had lost to Drexel and Purdue Fort Wayne. It played like the one that knocked off last year’s Patriot League champion, Colgate, earlier this season. At halftime, Syracuse led 41 to 28. Slowly, the Orange tried to pull out of the shadow of their early 10-0 run coming out of a media timeout with 12 minutes left. Up 20 points, a layup attempt in transition from Marcus Hammond was simultaneously blocked from Guerrier and Hughes. The next possession, another drive to hoop, happened early in the shot clock. This time, Brycen Goodine clipped the ball wildly off the backboard.Open in transition, Goodine went for a lay-up that only touched the glass, not the rim. On the other end, Kuakumensah dunked on Hughes. After 3-pointers from Nick MacDonald and Justin Roberts, Niagara came within 11 points with five minutes left. “They’re a small team, they were running a lot and scoring a lot of points in transition,” Guerrier said. “That’s one of the reasons why they were in the game.”There were moments where Syracuse wanted more, though. Hughes drove full-speed into the paint with two minutes left and threw a dart to Sidibe who would’ve had an easy lay-up. It bounced off his chest. The outcome had been decided, but the margin of victory was still in question. Boeheim, with 51 seconds left, called a timeout. He told his players on the court, four of which were starters, to stop hanging back despite a double-digit lead. Girard listened. With 12 seconds left, the freshman sprinted to a light inbound pass, the one players usually let roll to end the game. “I’m just trying to make a play,” Girard said. “If you steal that it’s over. It could be a dumb thing, as well, a foul or something.”He was fouled on the steal, his momentum taking him toward the courtside seats. It was a play he had to make, he said. The Orange were only up 12. Comments Published on December 28, 2019 at 9:09 pm Contact KJ: [email protected] | @KJEdelman Facebook Twitter Google+
The 136 kilometre stage was won by Joaquin Jose Rojas of the Movistar team in a bunch sprint ahead of Belgian Tom Boonen and Arnaud deMare of F.D.JFourth was Peter Sagan with 24 year old Bennett hot on his heels.The Bora Argon-18 rider is 10th overall heading into tomorrow’s second stage, just 10 seconds off the lead.
Haile Gebrselassie has accomplished most things during his reign as the king of distance running, but the Ethiopian will be breaking new ground when he lines up in the 25th Bupa Great South Run, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on 26 October.“I love competing in the Bupa Great Run series,” said the 41-year-old, who will be making his debut in the Portsmouth race. “I have run in the Great Run races in Newcastle, Manchester, Glasgow, Australia and Ethiopia and I have won them all too.“It will be great to add the Bupa Great South Run in Portsmouth to the list. It will be a new experience for me at the age of 41.”The flat, fast ten mile course has attracted some of the world’s best runners in the past – Mo Farah, Paula Radcliffe, Sonia O’Sullivan, Liz McColgan and Jo Pavey among them – and the distance ought to be perfectly suited to Gebrselassie, who has broken an incredible 27 world records at distances ranging from two miles to the marathon.“My training has been going well but I cannot indicate what time I am going to run,” added Gebrselassie, who has won two Olympic titles and four world titles at 10,000m.“I had a small surgery on my knee a few months ago but I am in pretty good shape now.” Gebrselassie has been inspired by the performances of fellow veteran Jo Pavey this summer, and is delighted that the European 10,000m champion is in the elite women’s field for the Bupa Great South Run.“I think what Jo has done this summer has been amazing,” he said. “She has shown that age does not matter – that it is just a number.”Gebrselassie, who has been competing on the international scene for 23 years, has no plans to hang up his racing shoes just yet.“The question is not just how long I can keep winning races,” he said. “I will always keep on running, even if I stop competing at the very top level.“I try to balance my training with my work these days. I have more rest too. But my training is going well at the moment.” Like Pavey, might the great man still contemplate making the podium at a major championship – possibly as a road runner, rather than a track athlete?“I cannot say now what I am going to do in the future,” said Gebrselassie. “At the moment I could do a very good 10km, a good 10 mile or very good half marathon.“If I was serious, I could do the training to run a good marathon too.”