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Syracuse basketball vs. Miami: What to know

Syracuse.com logo Syracuse.com 1/19/2021 Mike Waters, syracuse.com

Syracuse, N.Y. — Syracuse, coming off its worst loss of the season, will host Miami, who just notched its best win of the season, at the Carrier Dome on Tuesday.

Syracuse (7-4 overall, 1-3 in the ACC) must recover from its 96-76 loss at Pittsburgh on Saturday. The Panthers torched the Orange for 64 second-half points. Syracuse has lost three of its last four games.

Miami, on the other hand, went into its game with Louisville on Saturday with just seven healthy scholarship players and stunned the 16th-ranked Cardinals, 78-72. The win improved the Hurricanes’ record to 6-6 for the season and 2-5 in the conference.

Tuesday’s game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. and will be televised on the ACC Network.

SU’s 3-point shooting

Syracuse ranks 12th in the ACC with a .315 3-point field goal percentage.

The Orange has been off from beyond the arc in recent losses. In its last three losses to Pittsburgh (twice) and North Carolina, Syracuse has gone 25-for-90 (27.7 percent) from 3-point range.

With a backcourt of Buddy Boeheim and Joe Girard, plus an undersized Alan Griffin at small forward, Syracuse has built a team that must make 3-pointers. Right now, Griffin is the only one of the three who is shooting the ball well from the outside.

In the last four games, Boeheim is 9-for-33 (27 percent) and Girard is 7-for-19 (36 percent) on their 3-point attempts.

Miami’s roster situation

Miami survived with just seven scholarship players against Louisville on Saturday.

The Hurricanes have played most of the season without All-ACC guard Chris Lykes, who suffered an injury in the second game of the season and hasn’t played since.

Prior to Saturday’s game, the Hurricanes learned they would be without Kameron McGusty (hamstring) and Earl Timberlake (left arm). McGusty averages 10.2 points per game and is one of Miami’s better 3-point shooters. Timberlake, a 6-6 freshman, is averaging 10.1 points and 5.6 rebounds.

After the game, Miami coach Jim Larranaga said he hoped that McGusty would be ready in time for Tuesday’s game at Syracuse.

Getting defensive

Syracuse’s defensive performance at Pitt on Saturday was abysmal. And that’s being kind.

The Panthers’ 64 second-half points were one shy of the most points Syracuse had ever given up in a single half. The David Robinson-led Navy team scored 65 points against Syracuse in the second half of its 1986 NCAA tournament win. West Virginia also scored 65 second-half points against SU in the 1996-97 season.

But is SU’s defense really that bad? Was Saturday’s meltdown a one-time thing? Or was it a sign of things to come?

Syracuse still ranks third in the ACC in field goal percentage defense. However, SU is giving up 71.2 points per game, and that ranks 11th in the league. Defensive rebounding is a problem for the Orange. That issue is compounded by starting center Bourama Sidibe’s continued absence.

Wong leads the Canes

Miami guard Isaiah Wong is making his case as an All-ACC selection. The sophomore guard ranks fifth in the conference in scoring at 17.6 points per game. He’s also pulling down 6.0 rebounds per game.

In Miami’s 78-72 win over Louisville on Saturday, Wong scored a career-high 30 points. He also had seven rebounds, six assists and no turnovers.

He is just the second ACC player in the decade to record at least 30 points, five rebounds, five assists and zero turnovers in a game, joining former North Carolina guard Marcus Paige.

Griffin’s big day

Just a week ago, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim criticized Alan Griffin for being too passive and keeping to the perimeter.

On Saturday, Griffin responded with a huge game that went somewhat unnoticed as Syracuse suffered a 20-point loss to Pittsburgh.

Griffin, a 6-foot-5 junior transfer from Illinois, scored a career-best 28 points on 10-for-18 field goal shooting. He took just four 3-point shots, making two of them. He pulled down seven rebounds and recorded two blocked shots.

Griffin now leads Syracuse in scoring at 16.7 points per game. He’s second on the team in rebounds at 7.3 per game. His 3-point percentage is a solid 36.8 percent.

Syracuse needs him to continue to play the way he has over the last couple of games.

MORE ORANGE BASKETBALL

SU-Miami: TV channel, time, how to watch live stream

Pitt sophomore Justin Champagnie dunks all over Syracuse basketball in return from knee injury

After Syracuse loss to Pitt, Jim Boeheim calls defense ‘the worst I’ve seen since I’ve been here’

Contact Mike Waters anytime at mwaters@syracuse.com or find him on Twitter at @MikeWatersSYR.

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