Reeling Syracuse returns home to face Indiana on Tuesday night in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge in search of better defensive play.
The Orange (3-3) lost two of three games at the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament in the Bahamas and have given up 80 or more points in three of six games this season.
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said fatigue played a factor in the Orange dropping two of three in the Bahamas.
“Three days in a row was too much for us physically,” Boeheim said.
A positive development for Syracuse during the tournament was the play of Villanova transfer forward Cole Swider, who averaged 18 points and 7.5 rebounds over his last two tournament games.
“We can get a lot better,” Swider said. “The team you see now is not going to be the team you see at the end of the year. We are going to grow.”
The Indiana-Syracuse game is a rematch of the 1987 national title game, which the Hoosiers won 74-73 on a last-second Keith Smart shot. Syracuse has won five straight against Indiana since, including in the Sweet 16 of the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
Indiana (6-0) is off to an undefeated start under first-year coach Mike Woodson but will be on the road for the first time. The Hoosiers are coming off a 90-79 win over Marshall on Saturday night. Indiana rallied from down 12 points in the first half behind a career-high 43 points from Trayce Jackson-Davis, the most ever for a player in the 50-year history of Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
“He played pretty much the whole game, and I rode him,” Woodson said. “A few times in timeout, I asked him, was he OK, and he said, ‘Hey, I’m good, let me go.’ So, we rode him, and we needed all 43 points.”
Jackson-Davis is averaging 20.5 points and 7.7 rebounds on the season and starting point guard Xavier Johnson, a transfer from Pittsburgh, has provided another offensive spark for the Hoosiers, averaging 11.8 points and 3.8 assists.
“Coach Woodson has us in a free-flowing offense,” Jackson-Davis said. “You have us doing guard work and guards doing post moves and stuff of that nature. He wants an NBA-style offense, and you have to be able to do everything.”
–Field Level Media
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