Syracuse Basketball: Top observations as Orange crushes Oregon on neutral floor

Syracuse basketball on Sunday afternoon picked up a huge non-conference win over Oregon at a neutral site in South Dakota.
Syracuse basketball on Sunday afternoon picked up a huge non-conference win over Oregon at a neutral site in South Dakota. / Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

If Syracuse basketball finds itself anywhere near the proverbial bubble as the 2024 NCAA Tournament is set to arrive in March of next year, the Orange’s dominating performance against Pac-12 Conference school Oregon on Sunday afternoon in South Dakota could prove a key resume-building victory for the ‘Cuse.

The Ducks, with a current NCAA NET ranking of No. 54 overall, could represent a quadrant-one win for Syracuse basketball, if that rating ends up inside the top-50 nationally.

Riding the strength of some terrific bench play, and a tremendous showing in the interior, the Orange handled Oregon (7-3) inside the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D., by a final count of 83-63.

This was easily one of the top outings of the 2023-24 term for Syracuse basketball, defeating a solid foe by 20 points at a neutral site.

The ‘Cuse (8-3) has one more non-conference encounter remaining in the current campaign, with the Orange hosting fellow Empire State team Niagara this Thursday.

Assuming Syracuse basketball prevails in that contest, the ‘Cuse will have produced a 9-2 mark in the non-conference docket, which is not too shabby at all, especially when you consider that its out-of-conference calendar was fairly daunting.

My key takeaways as Syracuse basketball pummeled Oregon in South Dakota.

•In this affair, the ‘Cuse connected on 56.6 percent from the field, 38.5 percent from 3-point land and 72.0 percent from the charity stripe.

•The Ducks, conversely, struggled with their shooting, hitting on just 36.1 percent from the field, a paltry 14.8 percent from beyond the arc and 68.2 percent from the free-throw line.

•Syracuse basketball held advantages in virtually every single statistical category, except second-chance points and blocks, where Oregon led 12-6 and 3-2, respectively.

•The Orange owned a 36 to 31 edge in rebounds, 16 to 9 in assists, 44 to 18 in bench points, 17 to 7 in fast-break points, 11 to 9 in steals, 23 to 18 in points off turnovers and 50-28 in paint points. Both squads committed way too many turnovers, at 19 for each program.

•Individually speaking, sophomore guard Quadir Copeland was fabulous, collecting 15 points, nine rebounds, five assists, one block and one steal. He was 5-of-8 from the field and 5-of-6 from the free-throw line.

•Junior center Naheem McLeod chipped in a solid eight boards. Sophomore big man Maliq Brown generated 13 points, four steals, two rebounds, one assist and one block. He was 6-of-8 from the field.

•The Syracuse basketball starting backcourt combined for 32 points. Sophomore guard J.J. Starling had 14 points and was 2-of-3 from deep. Sophomore point guard Judah Mintz scored a team-high 18 points, and he was 8-of-11 from the charity stripe. He also added three boards, five assists and four steals, although Mintz did possess six turnovers.

•Redshirt sophomore guard Kyle Cuffe Jr. contributed eight points, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc.

•Junior forward Benny Williams was 4-of-4 from the field. He finished with eight points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals.

•While Oregon didn’t shoot well, I’d like to think that the Orange’s defense had something to do with it. The Ducks were averaging about 80 points per game, and they only managed 63 versus Syracuse basketball, an encouraging sign given that the ‘Cuse has struggled here and there on that end of the court in 2023-24.

•With this outcome, Syracuse basketball moves to 2-2 in neutral-site games this season. The Orange also should move up in the NET rankings, given that the ‘Cuse was No. 91 nationally prior to defeating the Ducks on a neutral floor.

•Syracuse basketball rounds out its non-conference schedule this season when it plays Niagara at the JMA Wireless Dome on Thursday, Dec. 21. The tip-off will commence at 5 pm, with coverage on the ACC Network Extra.

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