Syracuse’s rebounding struggles have cropped up once again

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 12, 2017 at 11:30 pm Contact Paul: [email protected] | @pschweds All Jim Boeheim wanted was to be even. His team surprised him against then-No. 6 Florida State when it won the rebounding battle. That led to an edge in second-chance points, 15-11, and on the scoreboard, 82-72.The Seminoles are the third-tallest team in the nation, per Kenpom.com. Pittsburgh, which outrebounded the Orange by 16 on Saturday, is the second. And when SU (16-10, 8-5) hosts Louisville (20-5, 8-4 Atlantic Coast) on Monday at 7 p.m. in the Carrier Dome, it’ll be facing the country’s 16th tallest team. But height doesn’t necessarily correlate to success on the glass. Syracuse has struggled mightily on the boards despite being the nation’s eighth tallest team.It may have just been the gauntlet that is the Orange’s ACC schedule that caught up to the team riding a five-game winning streak. After being outrebounded by 17 in the first half against the Panthers, SU’s sense of urgency on the glass reached a season-high.Syracuse has rebounded 65.5 percent of opponents’ missed shots, last in the ACC and 337th in the country, per Kenpom.“The boards were the story of the first half,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. “Down 17 at halftime and one differential in the second half. Rebounding was a problem.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textNot a single Orange player snatched more than two boards in the first frame against Pittsburgh. After the break, though, Tyler Lydon pulled down five while Tyler Roberson grabbed four. In the last 20 minutes of the game, SU recorded 16 rebounds compared to Pitt’s 15. The turnaround gave Syracuse a chance as it whittled a 13-point deficit to as few as three. But the damage had been done.Syracuse struggled, players said, because they were out of position as the ball bounced off the rim. They also needed to be more aggressive. The Orange displayed both its rebounding ceiling and floor on the same afternoon.“Just gotta be more physical,” Lydon said. “Look to just be aggressive on the boards. That’s what it comes down to.”Syracuse showed it could compete on the boards against some of the nation’s best teams by outrebounding Florida State by three and getting outrebounded by then-No. 9 Virginia by just one. SU has lost the rebounding battle in eight of its last 11 games and hasn’t outrebounded an ACC opponent by more than nine.“It’s not that hard (to rebound),” 6-foot-10 center Taurean Thompson said. “I have an advantage with length. I just have to move around, which I haven’t been doing.”Thompson is still honing the intricacies of Syracuse’s 2-3 zone and struggles to crash the glass offensively from the high post. Andrew White played guard throughout his career before a shift to forward. He averages 4.6 rebounds per game. Roberson has proven to be the Orange’s best rebounder, but he’s averaging 20.4 minutes per game.That leaves Lydon, Syracuse’s leading rebounder. But the Orange floundered when he got caught out of position against Pittsburgh. If the Orange wants to alter a season hanging on by a thread, winning the boards would be valuable.“Any time teams (win the rebounding battle), it’s tough to win games,” Lydon said. “You definitely take pride in (rebounding).” Commentslast_img

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