Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim used a man-to-man defense more than usual to start the season. It sounds like the Orange will be in their patented 2-3 zone Monday when they take on Richmond at the Empire Classic in Brooklyn, N.Y.
The Orange (2-1) scored a 76-48 triumph against Northeastern on Saturday in which Boeheim reached the 1,000-win mark for the second time in his illustrious career. He initially earned win No. 1,000 in 2017, but the NCAA rescinded 101 victories for previous program violations.
Joe Girard scored 21 points in the win, while Jesse Edwards had 20 and impressive freshman Judah Mintz chipped in 18.
“He’s been really good. … Very solid, smart, taking what’s there,” Boeheim said of Mintz, who is averaging 18 points through three games. “He’s just scratching the surface. He can get a lot better. I think he will get a lot better.”
The Orange defense was torched by visiting Colgate in an upset defeat on Tuesday. But more defensive cohesion was evident against Northeastern, holding the Huskies to 32.2 percent shooting (8 of 32 from beyond the arc) and forcing 18 turnovers.
Boeheim expects to use the 2-3 zone against the Spiders’ complicated offense.
“Richmond runs 10 different types of Princeton offensive sets,” Boeheim said. “These young guys, we have one day to show them that. There’s no way they could (play a lot of man-to-man). So, our zone is the best answer.”
Another factor is that Richmond (2-2) struggled against Wichita State’s zone on Thursday, shooting 8 of 29 from 3-point range as part of a 37.7 percent shooting effort overall.
“When you see a zone, a big part of that is we have to make some shots,” said coach Chris Mooney. “We got much better shots in the second half, so they’re easier to make, but you do have to knock down some shots and make them pay for scrambling or packing the lane or whatever it is. We just didn’t do that quite enough.”
Tyler Burton (19.0 points, 8.5 rebounds) has been the Spiders’ top player so far, highlighted by a 38-point effort in last week’s overtime loss to Charleston.
–Field Level Media