Game Notes: Memphis at Syracuse
Spaz Jam turned the tides.
by Rachel Stern
Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers.
On Wednesday night, turnovers were the story of the game, as Syracuse and Memphis combined for 30 giveaways in route to a 74-57 Syracuse victory in front of 17,805 at the Carrier Dome.
But no one turnover ended up being as costly as Andy Routins’ throwaway with 14:01 remaining in the ball game.
Only this turnover ended up helping the Orange.
With the Orange up 42-39, Rautins threw the ball away and Duke transfer and Memphis leading scorer Elliot Williams corralled the ball and appeared to have an easy 2 points. It was only a question of how Williams would finish the play, and as Jim Boeheim threw his jacket and turned toward his bench in disgust, Williams soared in the air and opted with the two-handed throw down as he yelled in midair.
The ball, however, hit the back of the rim and sent the Dome crowd into a frenzy.
Kris Joseph, who scored 15 points, all coming in the second half, was fouled on the other end and connected on both free throws. Memphis coach Josh Pastner called a timeout, pulled Williams and the Tigers were never able to recover.
“That was freakish. How many times does that happen?” Pastner said. “A wide open dunk, that was a big turning point. Syracuse was up three, we get that and they’re up only one and we have momentum. That really was a big play, it was a freak thing.”
Syracuse scored 9 of the next 10 points and Memphis turned the ball over four times in their next seven possessions, as the Orange extended their lead to 11 with just over 11 minutes remaining in the ballgame.
Though a frustrated Boeheim stated he was “not happy about anything” after the game, Memphis never got closer than 8 after the missed dunk.
– Ninety minutes before tip off Wes Johnson is the only Orange player on the court putting up shot after shot. After Boeheim touted Johnson as a “top-5 pick,” it is clear Johnson wants to live up to that praise as he takes an array of catch and shoot shots, one dribble pull-ups and shots off imaginary screens.
– Memphis big man Pierre Henderson-Niles is all of the 278 pounds he is listed at. He is a big boy, period. A few of his pre-game dunks leave the hoop shaking.
– Memphis first-year head coach Josh Pastner is relaxed before the game. He scrolls through his cell phone, poses with a kid in a Memphis t-shirt and chats it up with assistant coach Glynn Cyprien.
– Pastner is talking to graduate assistant manager Dan Connelly. Guess what the two are talking about 35 minutes before tip-off? Gilbert Arenas and their belief that he is done for the year, just as the news breaks that Gil is suspended indefinitely. I also overhear talk of former Syracuse stud, Carmelo Anthony. I know our readers will appreciate the NBA-shout outs.
– Syracuse has three starters over 6-5, Memphis has one. This would end up being a huge advantage, as Syracuse pounded it inside all night.
– After a Wes Johnson three from the left corner, Elliot Williams throws down a powerful two-handed slam. This one would go in, however, as Syracuse is out to an early 3-2 lead.
– Off to a sloppy start, the Orange have a couple turnovers and fouls. Boeheim inserts Scoop Jardine and Kris Joseph at the 15:34 mark with Memphis up 10-4.
– At the 10:34 mark, the Orange is up 15-14 and has strung together an 11-4 run since the crowd yelled, “Scooop.” Jardine has forced an offensive foul, given his big men easy shots, hit a three, stole the ball and fed Rautins for a three from the right wing.
– As Syracuse keeps feeding the bigs, Memphis is in the game because of their outside shooting. Roburt Sallie, fresh off a game in which he hit 10 from beyond the arc, is lighting up the Orange, connecting on 3-3 from three-point land.
– Arinze Onuaku and Rick Jackson have gotten lay-up after lay-up, but failed to connect on several easy bunnies. They have missed free throws and turned the ball over. Boeheim is irate at his bigs for giving up easy points and gets in Jackson’s face during a timeout with 3:26 left in the half and Memphis up two.
– After another Sallie three off a drive and dish from Williams, Jardine hits Onuaku on the block. One power dribble and an easy two-handed slam for the big man.
– With Memphis up three, Syracuse holds for the final shot of the half. The ball is in who else’s hands but Jardine’s. He dishes to Rautins who hits a deep, deep three from the left wing right in front of the Memphis bench.
– Things are all tied up at 32 at the half.
– Despite Syracuse’s huge advantage inside, Memphis has shot the lights out from beyond the arc, going 7-15. Sallie is 4-4 from three-point range, tallying 13 points. Williams has 8 for Memphis, who is shooting 42.3 percent from the floor.
– Syracuse can get it inside any time they want. Jackson and Onuaku have struggled to finish, however. Jackson has 9 points and Onuaku has 6 points and 6 boards.
– Jardine was the difference maker for the Orange. He never left the court since the 15:34 mark and has six points, three assists and a steal. He constantly fed the big men, who went to the line 10 times, but only connected on five of them.
– In the first 40 seconds, Rautins comes out and cans a three, only to be followed up by Sallie, who is now 5-5 from beyond the arc.
– After Syracuse gathers a couple 50-50 balls, Pastner is fuming and storms onto the court, hands in the air and stomps his foot after calling a timeout. His Tigers are failing to get the loose balls and the Orange are up by three with just under 17 minutes to go.
– The timeout has inspired the Tigers as Williams finishes an easy lay up and Wesley Witherspoon gets a put back. The Orange miss a couple lay ups, but after a Memphis offensive foul, Pastner needs to be held back by assistants Cyprien and Jack Murphy, as he goes after the refs. Syracuse is up one with 14:53 to play.
– The Rautins turnover and Williams’ missed dunk turns into a 4-point turnaround and a huge momentum swing. Joseph heats up for the Orange, while Memphis is plagued by turnovers. Willie Kemp commits 2 turnovers, as Rautins and Joseph each connect on jumpers from the left corner. With 8:30 left to play the Orange are up by 11.
– Kris Joseph is everywhere for the Orange. After going scoreless in the first half, he is driving aggressively, hitting jumpers and getting to the foul line. He even has time to wave his arms and pump up the crowd with five minutes to play and his team up 10.
– There has been no sign of Jardine after his impressive first half. Instead, he is standing on the sideline, making hand signals, yelling to his guys.
– As the Dome empties out with under two minutes to play, Joseph hits another bucket and smiles as he runs back on defense. Joseph finishes with 15 points and nine boards, going 7-8 from the free throw line.
Final Score: Syracuse 74, Memphis 57
– After going 7-15 from three-point range in the first half, the Tigers shot a dismal 2-13 from beyond the arc in the second half.
– Sallie only scored 4 points in the second half and fouled out with 2:17 remaining.
– Boeheim on sitting Jardine the entire second half- “Scoop should have been back in there within five or six minutes, but I really felt that Brandon had to get some game time, had to do something to get himself back going. I told Scoop he is the only guy that has a case, he should be upset for not getting in there because he really played well in the first half.”