Top observations as Syracuse basketball closes out Maui tourney with win

Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Steven Erler-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Steven Erler-USA TODAY Sports) /

Syracuse basketball, late Wednesday night, got back into the win column as the Orange crushed host school Chaminade, 105-56, in the final game for the ‘Cuse at the 2023 Allstate Maui Invitational from the University of Hawaii’s SimpliFi Arena in Honolulu.

This loaded eight-team event, which saw No. 2 Purdue take home the crown, was certainly a learning experience for a young Syracuse basketball 2023-24 roster, as the Orange went 1-2 overall after previously going 9-0 and capturing the Maui Invitational grand prize in 1990, 1998 and 2013.

On Wednesday evening, seven Orange players scored in double figures as the ‘Cuse (4-2) handled the Silverswords (1-5), which is a Division II school out of the Pacific West Conference.

In Hawaii, the Orange beat Chaminade, while Syracuse basketball fell by double-digits to both No. 7 Tennessee and No. 11 Gonzaga earlier in the week.

Here are my top observations as Syracuse basketball destroyed Chaminade in Honolulu.

•First of all, no disrespect to the Silverswords, but Chaminade wasn’t at the same level of competition as the Volunteers and the Bulldogs.

•That being said, against the Silverswords, Syracuse basketball players did a couple of things that they really struggled with in their two previous Maui Invitational encounters – namely, shooting the ball better from deep and from the field in general, as well as rebounding at a solid clip.

•On Wednesday, the Orange hit on 56 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point land, and 71 percent from the free-throw line.

•On the boards, the ‘Cuse out-rebounded Chaminade, 55-30, and Syracuse basketball players corralled 15 offensive boards.

•The Orange limited its turnovers to 10, and the ‘Cuse forced the Silverswords into 13 miscues. Syracuse basketball held a 27-10 edge in points off of turnovers.

•The Orange’s defense, which has struggled so far at times in 2023-24, limited Chaminade to 30 percent shooting from the field and just 23 percent from beyond the arc.

•In other statistical categories, Syracuse basketball led the Silverswords 19-9 in second-chance points, 44-9 in bench points, 54-28 in paint points, 16-8 in fast-break points, 5-3 in blocks, 7-4 in steals, and 23-12 in assists.

•Individually speaking, sophomore forward Chris Bell paced the Orange with a team-high 18 points, along with five rebounds.

•Sophomore wing Justin Taylor recorded a double-double, registering 14 points and 10 boards.

•Junior center Naheem McLeod had 13 points and nine rebounds.

•Sophomore guard Quadir Copeland flirted with a triple-double, notching 10 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

•Redshirt sophomore guard Kyle Cuffe Jr. had 13 points on 3-of-5 shooting from deep, sophomore guard J.J. Starling collected 12 points, five boards and five assists, and sophomore big man Maliq Brown possessed 12 points, three rebounds and two steals.

•Junior forward Benny Williams, who didn’t play against Gonzaga, had six points, two boards, one assist and two blocks.

•Syracuse basketball, as a collective unit, reached 100 points for the first occasion dating back to December of 2020, when the ‘Cuse had 101 points in a victory over Boston College.

•The Orange moved to 2-0 in its short all-time series with Chaminade, and Syracuse basketball is now 10-2 at the Maui Invitational.

•Next up, the ‘Cuse will host LSU in the inaugural ACC/SEC Challenge, with the tip-off set for 7 pm on Tuesday, Nov. 28. ESPN2 will air this match-up.

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