With Big East play looming, Syracuse looks to find consistency in low post

first_imgSyracuse owns the perimeter. At least when the Orange is on its game.SU’s ferocity inside the paint, though, hasn’t been as consistent.But as No. 9 Syracuse (11-1) finishes its nonconference schedule against Central Connecticut Monday at 3 p.m. in the Carrier Dome and prepares for Big East play, the Orange is trying to improve its interior play. The Orange offense works outside in, but if Syracuse’s big men can draw defenders and then pass back to the outside, SU’s lengthy guards on the perimeter will be much harder to shut down.“So we’ve got to have our perimeter guys playing well. We’ve got to get James some better looks,” head coach Boeheim said after the sloppy win against Alcorn State Saturday night. “Obviously Mike and Brandon have got to play well I think for this team to be successful.”Neither of SU’s regular point guards performed Saturday. The Orange tried for the inside instead. While Syracuse scored 32 points in the paint, just 10 came from SU big men DaJuan Coleman, Rakeem Christmas and Baye Moussa Keita. Forwards C.J. Fair and Jerami Grant contributed another eight. The Orange’s play in the low post was solid, but far from dominant against an otherwise overmatched Alcorn State (2-13) team.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe result was an under-performing outside display leading to an uneasy 57-36 win.Hamstringing the Orange’s interior play were constant trips to the foul line. There, an infectious deficiency took hold. Alcorn State sent SU to the line 24 times, but the Orange failed to execute once it got there. The Braves fouled SU so often that Grant said it was Alcorn State’s way of making up for a deficient defense.“I didn’t feel like it was on purpose, I feel like their defense was just that bad so they had to foul every possession,” freshman Grant said.But SU’s big men failed to make Alcorn State pay. The team went 12-of-28 from the line. Including Fair and Grant in addition to the Orange’s centers, the SU inside men went an even more abysmal 6-of-18.With Carter-Williams and Triche struggling to penetrate off the dribble throughout the game, outside shooting going consistently awry and SU’s postgame failing to capitalize at the line, the Orange attack went stagnant.The foul-shooting problem has spread throughout the team, but it’s costliest underneath.“You miss a few and then you think you can make a few, that’s fine. Then it gets in your head and then, I think it sprinkled down. You know, a few guys miss shots, then when you miss them you start worrying about it every time you go to the line,” Triche said. “You’re thinking ‘all right I got to make these,’ just more thinking about it.”Grant called getting to the hoop part of his game. But inside play is not part of the Orange’s just yet. SU has given glimpses of hope as Coleman put up a solid eight points Saturday night. Still, the paint is not a reliable place for points for the Orange.At the end of Boeheim’s postgame press conference Saturday night, a reporter asked the head coach if he thought the inside would be reliable by year’s end.“The end of what year? The question would’ve been good if you said what year. Not this year, this year’s almost over,” Boeheim said, then paused.“Let’s say it’s not this season.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on December 30, 2012 at 11:57 pm Contact Jacob: jmklinge@syr.edu | @Jacob_Klinger_last_img read more

USC sports thrive in the summer heat

first_imgNo. 1 · The USC men’s tennis teams celebrates their championship victory. The Trojans had to take down No. 1 Virginia and No. 3 Ohio State. – John Eilts | USC Sports Information For many, summer is a time to relax, get away from it all and take your mind off things. But for some USC athletes and teams, this summer was all about competition and, in some cases, the chance to win a national title. Just about every Trojan team that competed over the summer found success in national or conference tournaments. From the men’s tennis team to track and field, here’s what you missed in the world of USC sports while you were away this summer.Men’s TennisThe USC men’s tennis team, although sometimes under the radar even with its 16 national titles going into the 2009 season, made some noise this summer at the NCAA Men’s Tennis Championships.Going in as the No. 8 seed, the Trojans eased through the first three rounds of the 64-team tournament to match up against No. 1 Virginia in the quarterfinals.The Cavaliers, undefeated prior to the NCAAs, struggled against the Trojan attack, falling to USC’s top singles players, senior Abdullah Magdas, junior Robert Farah and freshman Steve Johnson en route to a 4-0 sweep of the Cavs by the Trojans.After continuing its run in the semifinals by defeating Texas 4-1, USC faced Ohio State in the national championship event on May 16.Against the No. 3 Buckeyes, the Trojans pulled out the doubles point on the strength of victories by doubles teams Farah/Johnson and duo freshman Matt Kecki and sophomore Jaak Poldma.USC (25-5) continued to surprise the Buckeyes in the singles matches as Magdas and freshman Daniel Nguyen delivered the Trojans their first two singles points. After Poldma fell to Buckeye Justin Kronauge, the Trojans clinched the national title with Farah’s three-set victory, 5-7, 6-1, 6-4.The championship is the Trojan’s 17th in school history and first for coach Peter Smith.Men’s VolleyballThe men’s volleyball team, picked to finish sixth in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation entering the 2009 season, more than surpassed expectations by winning the MPSF tournament.Facing defending national champion Penn State in the semifinals of the NCAA Championship, the No. 3 Trojans defeated the Nittany Lions, 3-1, with the help of freshman Murphy Troy. His 24 kills led the team and paced them for a .484 hitting percentage, which the Nittany Lions could not overcome.USC faced UC Irvine in the final on May 9, a team that has traditionally given the Trojans nightmares on the volleyball court but whom the Trojans had blanked just 10 days before in the MPSF tournament in Irvine.In the five-set match that saw USC (21-11) take an early 2-1 led after the first three sets, the Anteaters were able to answer with a blowout fourth set victory, 30-17. In the final set, the Trojans finished just short, falling 15-12 and finishing the season as national runner-up.Women’s Water PoloUSC women’s water polo, ranked first in the nation for much of the season and with just one blemish on its 24-1 overall record, entered the 2009 Women’s Water Polo Championship as the favorite.Breezing through their first two opponents, Cal Lutheran and the University of Hawaii by a combined score of 39-7, the Women of Troy were matched against third-ranked UCLA in the championship game on May 10.After falling behind quickly in the first quarter 2-0, senior driver Michelle Stein scored two goals to even the score at 2-2. But a goal near the end of the period by UCLA’s senior Anne Belden left the Women of Troy trailing after the first period.Junior driver Alexandra Kiss quickly answered with another goal by the Bruins in the second quarter, but another goal by UCLA to close out the half was too much to overcome and a second half goal by junior Forel Davies was not enough to complete the comeback, as USC (26-2) fell to UCLA 5-4.Women’s and Men’s GolfBoth the men’s and women’s golf teams participated in the NCAA Championships in late May with results that fell slightly short of expectations.The Women of Troy, ranked third in the nation coming into the NCAA tournament, started the tournament hot and were sitting pretty in second place going into the final stages of the team stroke-play match.The third round proved even more fruitful for the team, as they took the overall lead with just 18 holes remaining on the strength of a 6-over 294 and freshman Jennifer Song’s individual 1-under-par 71. Yet on the final day, the team shot a 13-over-par 301 to finish just short of the championship in third place behind eventual champions Arizona State.On the men’s side, USC made it through the stroke-play event, which seeds teams for a match-play championship event. The Trojans, led by coach Chris Zambri, were unable to advance past the quarterfinal stage, bowing out to the University of Texas, 3-2.The result was USC’s third top-10 finish in the past five events. This year’s effort was propelled by a group that was missing All-American junior Jamie Lovemark, who succumbed to a season-ending injury that held him out of the national competition, making the result all the more surprising and encouraging.Track and FieldUSC also found success at the track this June, with both the men’s and women’s teams finishing in the top 10 at the NCAA Track and Field Championships.Helping lead the men’s track and field team to a 10th-place overall finish was junior Ahmad Rashad, whose second place finish at the NCAAs in the 100-meter dash in a paltry 10.10 seconds was the fastest time in that event by a Trojan since 1985.The Women of Troy found the points that helped them to an eighth place overall finish in freshman Dalilah Muhammad, whose 56.49 in the 400-meter hurdles was the third fastest in school history and was also good enough for second place at the NCAAs.uOut of the seven teams that competed into the summer months, USC logged a national championship, two national runner-up finishes and four national top-10 finishes to round off an impressive and eventful summer.last_img read more

Women’s lacrosse goalie named to national team

first_imgThe accolades keep coming for a women’s lacrosse team still in its infancy but already making an impact on the national stage.The latest comes with sophomore goaltender earning a spot on the U.S. national lacrosse team, announced Aug. 7, the first Trojan to do so in the program’s four years of existence.Gussie Johns will be one of five goalies on the 36-player roster to represent the U.S. in 2017. She has backstopped the Women of Troy for the season, earning MPSF All-Conference Second Team honors her freshman year.Last season, Johns was one of the best goaltenders in the country, leading the nation with her 6.04 goals-against average. In 20 starts, she went 19-0 and was tied for the MPSF lead with 49 ground balls per game. She was the MPSF Defensive Player of the Week twice and a vital contributor to the nation’s top defensive team.Head coach Lindsey Munday was the captain of Team USA in 2013 — a year when the team clinched a world championship.“We are so proud of Gussie,” Munday said. “Not only is she an immense talent, but she is an incredible person who embodies the attributes of a Trojan. She puts the team before herself and works incredibly hard both on and off the field. This selection to the national team could not be more well-deserved and is a proud moment for her, our staff and the USC program.”Also representing USC on the team will be associate head coach Devon Wills, making the team for the ninth time, and assistant coach Alyssa Leonard, who is making her third appearance. Wills already has two championships under her belt, including being named World Player of the Game in 2013.The team was announced after a three-day tryout at the national team training center in Sparks, Maryland. There were 105 players from around the country selected for the tryout. Seniors Courtney Tarleton, Kelsey Dreyer and Amanda Johansen and junior Michaela Michael were also invited from USC.Team USA coach Ricky Fried said the field was talented and tough to narrow down.However, the field will be sliced in half to 18 players by the time actual competition starts for the national team. The team of 36 will train for the Federation of International Lacrosse Women’s World Cup next year in Guildford, England.last_img read more