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first_imgAfter Syracuse (5-2) managed an eight-point win over Cornell, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim noticed one recurring issue that was spurred by the Big Red’s defense.“We didn’t seem to be in sync,” Boeheim said. “I think their match-up (zone) hurt us a little bit. We saw that a bit against Oregon. That bothered us a bit tonight.”The defensive principles that Cornell used to hold Syracuse to 63 points were part of their match-up zone. Coach’s Clipboard defines a match-up zone as a “combination defense,” which puts together concepts of zone and man-to-man.It’s not the first time the Orange played that type of defense, as Oregon’s scheme, which Oshae Brissett called a “weird zone,” held Syracuse to 65 points on Nov. 16.Here’s a look at three plays that show what defensive principles limited Syracuse on Saturday night. Videos all via ESPN.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textPlay one: About 15 minutes to go in the first halfThe first obvious match-up zone principle above comes on Tyus Battle’s (25) entry pass to 6-foot-10 Bourama Sidibe (34) at the high post. Cornell guard Matt Morgan (10) comes sprinting over from the right wing, as he’s the closest in the vicinity. When Sidibe turns around, the 6-foot-2 Morgan is all over him.That leads to an ongoing rotation of the match-up defense, with Jimmy Boeheim (3) closing out on Frank Howard (23) and Josh Warren (22) rotating to the corner, cutting down any possible open shots created by Morgan’s movement.Elijah Hughes (33) attempts a behind-the-back dribble, left to right, that could’ve beat the defender Sidibe partially screened off. But because of the match-up defense, Jimmy slides across on a switch toward Hughes, who’s forced to pass out top.When the broadcast camera moves to a tighter shot, it shows Cornell’s Steven Julian (33) paying no mind to the high-low movement of SU and just waiting for Brissett (11) to reach his area.With defensive slides attempting to cut off penetration, Syracuse only gets a half-look at the rim from Brissett since no dribble-driver became fully clear. Sidibe cleans up on the glass, but the Orange didn’t get any defense-shifting action inside because of Cornell’s match-up switches.Play 2: 1:52 to go in the first halfWhen Marek Dolezaj (21) comes to set a screen, Cornell’s Terrance McBride (11) sprints over before the pick to make the match-up switch onto Howard. On the ball swing to Brissett and his ensuing drive, all five Big Red defenders shift right near the paint with eyes on Brissett, ready to slide off and help if needed. So, he dishes to Battle in the right corner.When Battle catches, two Cornell defenders believe they’re in his area, so they both close out. With better secondary passers on the floor, Syracuse would have a potential advantage off the double team, but the Orange don’t take advantage of an open man. Instead, Hughes (33) just shifts right into the same area as Brissett, allowing one Big Red player to match-up with two SU players at once.Battle bails the Orange out with a spin move and bucket. But the off-ball motion that led to congestion in an area where a player could’ve been open, and the lack of willingness to pass out of an overzealous double closeout show how this possession could’ve come up empty for the Orange.Play 3: 13:13 to go in the second halfSyracuse has remained reliant on pick-and-roll action this season after it was the Orange’s go-to play last season. Here, the match-up zone stifles three attempts at creating driving lanes.First, it’s Howard (23) going right off a Dolezaj screen, but Jack Gordon (32) pops right out to meet him. Howard passes it out, letting Battle explore a move right off a Paschal Chukwu screen. But Morgan slides right into possession and Battle’s explosive first step has no chance to go anywhere.Finally, it’s Howard again, this time going left off a Brissett screen. But Jimmy, previously matched up with Brissett, has switched off to await Howard near the free-throw line. Then, off the kickout, Jimmy recovers back to Brissett, who traveled after rushing his feet. Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on December 3, 2018 at 11:08 pm Contact Billy: wmheyen@syr.edu | @Wheyen3center_img Commentslast_img read more