first_img Related Stories Syracuse uses late 1st-half surge to beat Texas Southern, 80-67Fall knocks Malachi Richardson out of Syracuse’s win against Texas SouthernSyracuse community reacts to win over Texas SouthernFast reaction: 3 takeaways from Syracuse’s 80-67 win against Texas SouthernGrade Syracuse’s performance against Texas Southern and vote for the player of the game Published on December 27, 2015 at 6:36 pm Contact Jon: jrmettus@syr.edu | @jmettus Texas Southern forward Derrick Griffin ran along the left baseline, leapt in the air and caught a lobbed pass from forward Chris Thomas before slamming home the alley-oop with two hands.Syracuse forward Tyler Roberson smacked his hand into the side of his right leg in frustration and dropped his head down after watching Griffin convert on his third alley-oop in a span of more than four minutes to tie the game at 11-11.“We weren’t really ready for the lob like that I don’t think,” Syracuse forward Tyler Lydon said.With Griffin, a dual-athlete playing forward for the basketball team and wide receiver for the football team, Texas Southern was able to exploit Syracuse’s defense. In the first half, backdoor cuts led to five successful alley-oops.The Orange adjusted, dropping its center under the basket after halftime, but it left the high post open. The Tigers were able to gash the Orange in the paint, scoring 34 points — more than half of its total — there. Syracuse was able to overcome its difficulties down low to win 80-67 in the Carrier Dome on Sunday.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“They took it right to us,” SU interim head coach Mike Hopkins said. “We’ve been trying to get the point across to our team, on our end, the importance of defense and tonight we just we had some breakdowns and we’ve got to get better.”Texas Southern hadn’t shown the quick lob passes in previous games, Hopkins said, but the Tigers abused Syracuse with them in the first half.SU guard Michael Gbinije sent the Carrier Dome crowd into a frenzy with a transition layup, but Griffin answered by slamming in a one-handed alley-oop just seconds later, silencing the fans.Griffin looked into the crowd opposite the Syracuse bench and pounded his chest.“You’re not there to trade baskets,” Hopkins said.  “You’re there to get stops and compete on the defensive end and we’ll keep hammering at that. Wasn’t too happy with our overall defensive effort tonight.”With 6:40 left in the first half, Griffin watched a lob attempt carom off the backboard, too far away that he didn’t even jump, but it was the first unsuccessful alley-oop try of the day. The four previous had all gone down.Lydon said the wing players in the zone missed a few rotations — which he called mental lapses — leaving the pass open behind the center. When Dajuan Coleman subbed back into the game with seven minutes and 30 seconds left in the half, he held out his right arm behind himself, wary of the backdoor cut.Hopkins kept the centers under the basket in the second half, instead of stepping up higher in the zone like usual.  The move worked to take away the lobbed passes, but left SU vulnerable at the high post. Gbinije said taking away the lob underneath, while also trying to limit the high post, is a push-and-pull scenario.“In any good defense you’re going to give up something,” Hopkins said. “You have to figure out and pick your poison. In the most part, we’ve obviously got to get better at that.”Griffin added eight points to his first half effort, finishing a perfect 9-for-9 with game-high 20 points.Hopkins said the Orange needs Roberson to be a physical presence in the paint, instead of leaving forward Malachi Richardson to be like “a welterweight fighting a heavyweight.”Despite Griffin and Rodriguez being the only Texas Southern players taller than 6 feet 5 inches, the Tigers were able to take advantage of Syracuse’s vulnerabilities on the inside. In the first half, it was lobs behind the defense and in the second, it was baskets in front of the big men.“We tried to stop that guy that was throwing down those crazy dunks,” Gbinije said, “but we didn’t do a good job tonight, defensively.” Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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