Sun. Apr 2nd, 2023

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BLACKSBURG, Va. — Jim Boeheim says he’s been “tremendously shocked” with Joe Girard III’s capability to get into the lane and discover his personal shot this season. To Boeheim, that was particularly the case in Syracuse’s final three contests, the place Girard averaged over 22 factors per recreation. Final day out, the senior was ready to try this towards Leaky Black, among the finest defenders within the Atlantic Coast Convention, and even in SU’s final assembly towards Virginia Tech, when Girard totaled 24 factors.

On Saturday evening, VT head coach Mike Younger knew Girard’s capabilities. That’s why he applied a “five-person proposition” to cease him. Hunter Cattoor was Girard’s major defender, however holding the guard to only seven factors wasn’t a one man effort. Virginia Tech hedged on pin downs, didn’t enable Girard to twist round screens and held him to 2-for-8 taking pictures in Syracuse’s 85-70 street loss.

“Joe has to attain for them. He has to,” Younger mentioned. “To restrict him to seven factors is one hell of a defensive effort.”

Boeheim mentioned postgame that Virginia Tech didn’t do something completely different in distinction to its 10-point loss at SU on January 11. However this time round, the Hokies had the companies of 6-foot-3 senior Hunter Cattoor, who was injured over the last assembly.

In earlier years, Younger had Cattoor guard Buddy Boeheim, a tough matchup given Buddy’s 6-foot-6 body and talent to hit fade away photographs, the coach mentioned. Like Buddy was the previous two seasons, Girard is the Orange’s go-to scoring possibility this season, the crew’s factors chief at 17.5 per recreation. So, Younger put Cattoor on him, offering a superb matchup for Virginia Tech, with Cattoor having two inches and 10 kilos on Girard.

When Jesse Edwards tried to free Girard up with pindown screens inside, the Hokies’ large males hedged, stopping the ball from attending to Girard. VT didn’t let him curl off screens on the perimeter, however additionally they didn’t overly-extend to permit Girard open seems within the corners.

“You simply can’t guard actually good gamers, and actually good scorers, with one individual,” Younger mentioned.

Younger mentioned the Hokies did a superb job not letting Girard curl off screens and get inside, the place he likes to shot pretend, pivot and rating or draw fouls — typically each. The five-man effort labored, the coach mentioned, with VT’s protection doing a “exceptional job” and Cattoor in Girard’s footsteps all evening.

“They did a superb job on everyone,” Girard mentioned. “They had been actually aggressive getting over screens on everybody and their defensive gameplan on not simply me, however everyone, was fairly good.”

Virginia Tech acquired out to a double-digit lead halfway by way of the primary half by repeatedly flattening wide-open 3-pointers, and Syracuse’s offense responded by trying to find fast offense. Boeheim used three of his 4 allotted timeouts within the first half, looking for one thing to get the Orange again in it. Justin Taylor mentioned Boeheim’s focus within the timeouts was to get SU into its units higher, and to maneuver extra after a number of possessions featured one individual dribbling and 4 different Orange jerseys standing nonetheless.

Syracuse tried to run extra performs for Taylor and Girard, the freshman mentioned, but it surely didn’t matter a lot due to Virginia Tech’s success from deep. Girard tried to discover a rhythm, utilizing a pleasant crossover-stepback transfer to create an open 3 that missed. Within the second half, he missed a layup after SU’s press generated a steal, and acquired stuffed on one in every of his few drive makes an attempt.

Girard mentioned he didn’t transfer as nicely off the ball to realize benefits, and he must preserve shifting to search out open areas. Girard nonetheless acquired one-on-one alternatives, however couldn’t create room for seems or get inside like he had previously three video games, Boeheim mentioned. “He simply couldn’t get it off. Simply couldn’t get his shot,” the coach mentioned.

Boeheim turned to Symir Torrence instead of Girard for a major within the second half, needing extra size and exercise with Syracuse making an attempt to press its means again into the sport. Girard mentioned he’s been impressed with Torrence’s vitality, protection and talent to relax the Orange this season. Torrence completed with eight factors, 5 rebounds and two steals, however Syracuse by no means acquired nearer to 12 within the second half.

“If I knew (Girard) was going to be that dangerous then I in all probability would have performed Symir slightly bit extra,” Boeheim mentioned.

Torrence, although, isn’t the offensive menace that Girard is. Like Younger mentioned, Girard has to attain for SU to win video games. And on an evening when Syracuse trailed for all however two minutes, they wanted their main scorer to place factors on the board.

It could have been, as Boeheim mentioned, only one off evening. However with the Orange in a stretch of the season the place basically each recreation is a must-win in the event that they need to return to the NCAA Match, Girard can’t afford to have these. Saturday evening proved that.

“Joe’s been actually good, he simply had a nasty recreation,” Boeheim mentioned. “He had a pair earlier within the yr, and he bounced again from them.”

Contact Connor: [email protected] | @csmith17_

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