Despite Syracuse basketball loss, Frank Anselem did a ‘monster job’ inside

Syracuse basketball, Frank Anselem (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball, Frank Anselem (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images) /

Following the Syracuse basketball 71-59 loss at Virginia Tech on Saturday evening, I noticed that some Orange fans opined on social media that if junior center Jesse Edwards was available for this Atlantic Coast Conference clash, the ‘Cuse would have prevailed.

Respectfully, I disagree with this assessment. There’s no question it is difficult to fully replace Edwards’ production, who prior to the Hokies encounter was averaging about 12 points and seven rebounds per affair.

Edwards, sadly, suffered a wrist injury last week in the Orange’s win at Boston College, and he’s out for the remainder of the 2021-22 campaign.

In my humble opinion, the main reason that Syracuse basketball fell to Virginia Tech (15-10, 7-7) is that the ‘Cuse didn’t connect on some good looks down the stretch, after the Orange had clawed back from a 10-point halftime deficit to tie this game at 54-54 with around six minutes to go.

Syracuse basketball (13-12, 7-7) also committed a few unfortunate turnovers in the contest’s waning minutes. And don’t get me started on the ridiculous disparity at the charity stripe.

But Syracuse basketball sophomore center Frank Anselem more than held his own.

With Edwards unavailable, sophomore center Frank Anselem was inserted into the starting rotation by head coach Jim Boeheim. Anselem, from my perspective, was terrific.

In 36 minutes, he tallied six points and a team-high 15 rebounds, to go along with two blocks and one assist. He also only committed three fouls.

Now, is Edwards a better player on offense than Anselem? Absolutely. But the way that I look at this is Edwards had been averaging about 12 points per encounter. Anselem contributed six points. And the ‘Cuse lost by a dozen points.

Boeheim, in his post-game press conference, praised Anselem for his “monster job” on defense and in the rebounding department. On the glass, Syracuse basketball and Virginia Tech each grabbed 41 boards, per ESPN statistics.

So Anselem corralled about 36 percent of the Orange’s total rebounds. That’s stellar. Yes, the ‘Cuse certainly missed Edwards’ offense versus the Hokies and will be moving forward for the rest of 2021-22.

But in the setback to Virginia Tech, Syracuse basketball connected on just 37.5 percent from the field as a whole. That’s the main reason why the Orange didn’t prevail.

Anselem, I might add, did everything asked of him. And then some.

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