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Two high-flyers break from Fortress

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Despite win, urgency rises for Syracuse with continued rebounding struggles

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first_img Published on December 8, 2015 at 8:56 pm Contact Matt: mcschnei@syr.edu | @matt_schneidman Facebook Twitter Google+ The ball appeared to be firmly in Dajuan Coleman’s grasp before it slipped out and bounced between his legs. He’d just fallen for a David Krmpotich pump fake but temporarily corralled the miss before Krmpotich scooped the ball off the hardwood for an uncontested layup.Only 26 seconds were off the clock and Syracuse’s Achilles heel in its two losses was already rearing its head.“We obviously are aware of the fact that we need to rebound the ball a lot better,” freshman Tyler Lydon said.The exciting brand of Syracuse basketball that Jim Boeheim advertised was bogged down on Tuesday by a deadlocked rebounding tally. Syracuse, 32, a physically inferior Colgate team, 32.The Orange sunk 14 3s, the brand’s most attractive side, but a rebounding struggle against the Raiders made a blowout seem like not so much of one. Syracuse (7-2) cruised to a 78-51 win over the Raiders (2-6) in the Carrier Dome for Mike Hopkins’ first win as interim head coach, but the urgency is starting to rise for a team already thin down low.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Especially when you play teams that shoot 28 3-pointers, there’s going be a lot of long rebounds, a lot of hustle rebounds,” Hopkins said. “and they beat us to those balls today.”In an eight-point overtime loss to Wisconsin on Wednesday, Syracuse suffered its biggest deficit on the glass in five years. Six-foot-8, 235-pound Nigel Hayes and 6-foot-9, 230-pound Ethan Happ tortured SU to the tune of a 26-rebound advantage for the Badgers.The Orange lost the battle on the boards again in a seven-point loss to Georgetown on Saturday, as 6-foot-7, 250-pound Marcus Derrickson grabbed 10 boards and seven-foot, 275-pound Bradley Hayes chipped in eight.Colgate posed far less of an imposing threat down low, with none of its back line standing taller than 6-foot-9 or weighing over 220 pounds.“After the shot went up, we tried to basically use our bodies,” senior Michael Gbinije said, “and they just used their quickness and got into small spaces.”After SU’s loss to Wisconsin, Hayes said playing against Syracuse’s zone makes it far easier to rebound. The Orange guards space instead of a man, so opponents sift into the cracks to better positions themselves under the ball. To compensate, Syracuse has to eye the ball’s trajectory as it heads to the hoop to best position for a rebound, Gbinije said.Sometimes, an area Syracuse already struggles in is left up to chance.“Just play the percentages,” Gbinije said. “It’s kind of a guessing game what the ball can do.”With the game well in Syracuse’s hands in the second half, the second of two straight Colgate offensive rebounds fell into Jordan Swopshire’s hands. Coleman was left only turning to watch as the Carrier Dome fell to a murmur.The game was brought to life in spurts by one of Syracuse’s six second-half 3s. Trevor Cooney from the left wing. Gbinije from up top. Malachi Richardson from the right.Only Dajuan Coleman’s back-to-back layups that salvaged “Taco Time” sent the crowd into a semi-frenzy. Coleman jogged into the huddle high-fiving Hopkins, but that was just about the best sequence for Syracuse down low.The Orange finally gained an advantage on the glass, at that point, 32-31, with 45 seconds left. Sixteen seconds later, it was gone.Hopkins hinted at using a bigger lineup in the near future to combat the issue. It didn’t matter on Tuesday since Syracuse’s identity shaped from behind the arc was still there.But inching deeper into a season already tarnished by deficiencies on the glass, Syracuse may not be able to afford many more.Said Gbinije: “That sense of urgency is definitely picking up the closer we get to conference play.” Commentslast_img read more