What we learned from Syracuse basketball’s 64-62 win against Duke

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first_img Published on January 18, 2016 at 11:49 pm Contact Sam: sblum@syr.edu | @SamBlum3 Facebook Twitter Google+ DURHAM, N.C. — Syracuse (13-7, 3-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) shocked Duke (14-5, 3-3), 64-62, on Monday night at Cameron Indoor Arena. Duke has now lost three straight games for the first time in nine seasons, and the Orange held the Blue Devils to under 80 points, the first time Duke has scored less than that number at home this season.Tyler Roberson pulled down 20 rebounds, including 12 on the offensive glass. Michael Gbinije returned to his old team and hit several big shots, finishing with 14 points and a career-high nine assists. Malachi Richardson hit three 3-pointers to give Syracuse a lead and it all resulted in SU’s biggest win of the season.The Blue Devils shot just 10-of-37 from 3, and the Orange made 11-of-23. Syracuse had never beaten Duke at Cameron as members of the ACC, but that all changed on Monday.Here are three things we learned from Syracuse’s win.This team might be as good as people thought it could beAdvertisementThis is placeholder textAfter the Orange won the Battle 4 Atlantis, it took over as the No. 14 team in the country. Players boasted that no one respected them coming into the season, and the first six games of 2015 showed why everyone should have.That rhetoric died down as Syracuse lost to Georgetown, St. John’s and the first four games of conference play. But that same timely defense and prolific 3-point shooting on Monday showed why Syracuse could win a game against any team when it’s playing at its best.“We come into the year, we’re not ranked,” Trevor Cooney said, recapping the season to date. “No one’s talking about us. And then all of a sudden we play well in the Bahamas and we get ranked and everyone’s talking about us. And then we slip up a little bit and then we fall back into no one’s talking about us again.“It shows a lot about us to be able to dig ourselves out.”It’s been up and down for Syracuse. There have been some bad lows, but the Orange has shown that it’s highest highs are tough to beat.Syracuse can win running just one playAfter the game, Jim Boeheim admitted that he ran pretty much just one play the entire second half.“We used the middle ball screen to try and get Mike (Gbinije) into the lane and then when they helped,” Boeheim said, “he got Roberson and he dropped the layups and a couple of times we got the 3.”Syracuse ran a pretty simple offense and it led to clutch shooting. It made seven 3s in the second half and Roberson got a couple of good looks. When the Blue Devils had cut the lead to 61-58, the Orange executed on that pick and roll perfectly, and Gbinije found Roberson cutting to the basket as he rolled in the and-one.After scoring just 26 points in the first half, the Orange basically shot its way to a win with 38 points after the break.Trevor Cooney’s self-reflection has boosted his recent surgeAfter Syracuse lost to Miami on Jan. 2, Cooney sat alone at his locker, uninterested in talking to anyone that wanted a word with him.He said after Monday’s game that he was thinking about what he could do to right the ship, how he could be a better leader.Since then, he’s scored 27 points against then-No. 6 North Carolina and 21 first-half points against Wake Forest on Saturday. During Monday’s win over the Blue Devils, he hit four 3-pointers.When Grayson Allen had scored nine straight for Duke, Cooney pulled up on a 3-pointer at least 3 feet behind the arc and cut the 6-point deficit in half just before halftime.Off a Roberson rebound in which he corralled the ball while being surrounded by four Duke players, a kick out to Cooney ended in the senior draining an open 3. He’s stepped up his output the past couple of games, and he can pinpoint when it happened.“I was just trying to figure out, how can I get these guys going and how can I be a better leader every single day,” Cooney said. “And that’s what I was thinking about in that moment.” Commentslast_img read more