Syracuse 2-3 zone derailed by Florida State’s 3-point shooting

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 5, 2019 at 11:42 pm Contact Charlie: csdistur@syr.edu | @charliedisturco Commentscenter_img Syracuse knew that Florida State struggled with success from beyond the arc. The Seminoles were, after all, ranked 239th in 3-point percentage. The 2-3 zone, at least theoretically, fit in perfectly with SU’s game plan of forcing FSU to keep the ball around the perimeter.But on Tuesday night, an inconsistent-shooting Florida State team found its groove. The Seminoles constantly passed the ball around to space the floor. It didn’t matter where — in the corner, on the wing, at the top of the key or in transition — Florida State kept on shooting and kept on connecting. The end result was a 50-percent performance from 3. The Seminoles (17-5, 5-4 Atlantic Coast) used their season-long 3-point shooting woes and turned it into a positive in an 80-62 statement win over Syracuse (16-7, 7-3) inside the Carrier Dome.“We didn’t guard it as well as we needed to for sure,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said. “… Whenever you give up that many 3s, your defense needs to be better.”Florida State came out of the gate firing. Three of its first four baskets were from beyond the arc, and one even bounced off the rim and through the hoop. It foreshadowed how the night would go for both teams: FSU couldn’t miss, and SU’s 3-point defense came sparse.Players said after the game that they expected Florida State to struggle from 3 following its season-long trend. The zone has often been successful, and Syracuse entered Tuesday winners in nine of its last 11. It was the same 2-3 zone that held Duke to 20.9 percent from 3 and Pittsburgh to a combined 28.1-percent clip over two games.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe defensive success, especially limiting opposing offenses from hoisting open 3s, normally led to transition buckets for Syracuse. Long rebounds turned into outlet passes. Other times, a couple of misses shifted momentum in SU’s favor.It was a different story on Tuesday. The Seminoles “were a little more comfortable” than in other games, FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton said. Mfiondu Kabengele, who entered shooting 33 percent from 3, did not miss any of his four attempts. Terance Mann, himself, added a perfect 2-for-2 performance from beyond the arc.“We didn’t really know they were going to shoot that well,” said Elijah Hughes, who scored 17 points. “But they did.”Knowing that previously Florida State has struggled from 3 — they shot 9.1 percent against Pittsburgh — led to defensive lapses. Shooters were often left open, Frank Howard said, and they made the SU defense pay.With just under eight minutes left, Kabengele snuck behind the Syracuse defense and trailed out toward the left wing. He stood a couple feet beyond the arc and caught a Trent Forrest pass before firing. It swished.Boeheim called a timeout as the Florida State lead grew to 10. But it didn’t help. An Oshae Brissett pass bounced right off Buddy Boeheim’s hands and out of bounds. A full-court press ensued and Florida State pushed transition.Forrest again found Kabengele, this time him trailing alone down the right wing. Hughes tried running over to block the shot, but it was no use. Another swish. Kabengele’s back-to-back 3s pushed the game out of reach, Florida State now ahead of Syracuse by 13.It didn’t matter whether it was Mann, who’s shooting 41 percent from 3 on the year. Or M.J. Walker, who opened the game with a pair of 3s and converts at a 37 percent clip. Or even Kabengele, the 6-foot-10 forward entered off the bench and had never made more than two 3s in a game in his career. Florida State could not miss.“We weren’t really too concerned about them shooting 3s,” said sophomore Brissett, who scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. “We knew they could shoot, but we weren’t really up on them like we would be with other teams.“They had a lot of guys in today that don’t usually hit like they do. It’s unfortunate.”last_img

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