MBB : Man-to-man, zone defenses stifle Jaspers

first_imgSyracuse opened its game against Manhattan in man-to-man defense and stayed in it for nearly the first seven minutes of action. After Jaspers guard George Beamon scored on the team’s first possession, the Orange’s man defense contained the Manhattan attack.Manhattan repeatedly tried to drive to the basket, but Syracuse’s help defense combined with the team’s athleticism stifled the Jaspers.Orange center Fab Melo recorded two emphatic blocks helping off of his man underneath, and Brandon Triche got another when Kidani Brutus tried to send a soft floater over the SU guard in the first half.‘If their guys pass by my guards, I just go and help,’ Melo said. ‘We have a good rotation because if a guy passes by me, you have the other post guy on help, too. We all trust in each other, so that’s a good thing for the team.’No. 5 Syracuse used a combination of that man-to-man defense and its vaunted 2-3 zone in its 92-56 win over Manhattan on Monday in the Carrier Dome. After playing only zone in its first game of the year Saturday, the Orange (2-0) played man off and on against the Jaspers (1-1) for about half of the first 20 minutes. Though SU head coach Jim Boeheim and his players felt the zone was a little more effective, they liked having the ability to switch seamlessly in and out of man-to-man.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘We’re known for our zone, and we love playing zone defense here at Syracuse,’ fifth-year senior Scoop Jardine said. ‘That’s our main thing. But it doesn’t hurt to have good man-to-man, too.’After the first seven minutes, Syracuse played the 2-3 zone for about eight minutes. The Orange went back to the man defense again with about five minutes left in the first half. And the Jaspers once again struggled to score against the Orange, managing just six more points before halftime.That success changing defenses gives SU’s opponents something very new to game plan for when they battle the Orange this season. For years, teams have come to the Carrier Dome with the intention of breaking down Boeheim’s 2-3 zone.But this year might be a little different.‘I feel like it’s a good way to switch it up because the offense won’t get too comfortable with us being in the zone all the time,’ junior James Southerland said. ‘I noticed that when we’re in the zone all the time, teams start to relax. When we switch it up to man-to-man, we’re going to force more turnovers.’And Syracuse forced plenty of turnovers with both its defenses against Manhattan. The Jaspers coughed the ball up 28 times in the game and shot just 31.6 percent from the field.Against mostly the man defense in the first half, they only registered four assists on nine made baskets as they tried to drive to the rim to no avail.‘I think all of us are capable of playing man just because we’re athletically gifted,’ senior Kris Joseph said. ‘We have length and we have size to play man-to-man. Our big men are going to change shots down low. Our guards are going to pressure the ball as they should. The wings are going to do what they can to help us play great man defense.’The Orange played more zone in the second half with the game well in hand, occasionally switching to man for a couple of possessions.Boeheim said he hasn’t decided just how much Syracuse will go away from the 2-3 zone moving forward. He also added that he thought the zone was much better than the man defense Monday, but he wanted to look at the film to make sure that was accurate.And as for the players, they feel the zone will once again be SU’s strength on the defensive end.But it won’t hurt to have a little man-to-man sprinkled in here and there.‘Our zone is great,’ Jardine said. ‘Our zone is really good. We force a lot of turnovers out of it. Our man is getting better. That’s what we want.’[email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+ Commentscenter_img Published on November 14, 2011 at 12:00 pmlast_img

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