Syracuse men’s basketball faces tough test against balanced Pitt squad
Syracuse men’s basketball (16-12, 9-8 ACC) was soundly beaten 91-73 by Clemson (20-8, 12-5 ACC). Compounded with a loss to Duke, the Orange continue to sink in the ACC standings. This contest marked the most lopsided win over the Orange in the Tigers’ 112-year history.
The Orange found offensive production from guards Judah Mintz and Joe Girard, but the others couldn’t muster anything else. Mintz led the way with 23 points while Girard contributed 11 of his own.
LISTEN: SU guard Joe Girard drilled a triple to get on the board down in South Carolina. @zachletson_ had the call.— WAER Sports (@WAERSports) February 23, 2023
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The Orange now shift their focus to Pitt (20-8, 13-4 ACC). Traveling down to the Petersen Events Center, SU attempts to find answers on Saturday against the Panthers, who are in contention for the top of the ACC.
A matchup that bears watching is in the post, where centers Jesse Edwards and Fede Federiko do battle.
“He has trouble trying to get to the basket when he gets pushed out,” head coach Jim Boeheim said in response to Clemson taking Edwards out of the game. “His buckets have come when he rolls to the basket, that’s when he’s effective. He’s not effective when we throw him the ball.”
Edwards posted a double-double, but did not make a field goal for the entire first half. Syracuse needs its big man to come out of the gate hot against Pitt. However, that notion will prove a challenge with one of the ACC’s premier defensive centers on the other side.
Federiko has 53 blocks this season and is averaging 19 per game, which ranks him third in the conference in both categories. Pitt head coach Jeff Capel has sung his praises this season.
“He does a really good job in ball screen defense,” Capel said. “He’s alert. He’s active. He gives great energy and it’s a big time thing for us.”
SU needs a big night from Edwards to mitigate Federiko’s impact on the court and give the 'Cuse a breakthrough after two major losses in ACC play.
The last time these two teams met, the Panthers escaped with an 84-82 win. The Orange trailed by as many as 20 points during that contest, but found a way to roar back. Syracuse needs to start fast and make sure it does not dig itself into a deep hole early on.
Syracuse will try to even up its ACC record and score a big win over Pitt on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. WAER’s coverage starts with McClurg Team Countdown to Tipoff at 4:30.