Men's Basketball

Syracuse looks to correct turnover issues in Madison Square Garden matchup with Temple

Ryan MacCammon | Staff Photographer

Brandon Triche and Syracuse will try to take better care of the ball Saturday after turning the ball over 18 times in its win over Detroit Monday.

In nearly spoiling what was circled on the calendar as Jim Boeheim’s 900th career win, Syracuse committed 18 turnovers against Detroit. That’s the fourth time this season the Orange has made that many.

“We’re not going to be real good if we’re going to turn over that many times,” Boeheim said after Monday night’s 72-68 win. “Particularly in late-game situations.”

While No. 3 SU (10-0) heads to Madison Square Garden to play Temple (8-2) relieved of the pressure from Boeheim’s milestone, it’s also fighting a lingering turnover problem. SU has proven it belongs among the nation’s best, but solving its turnover struggles is key to establishing the more assured dominance that trademarked last year’s team.

Ten games into the 2011-12 season the Orange was also 10-0, a survivor of some scares and was ranked No. 3 in the country. It also buried opponents with back-breaking runs that recaptured momentum or put the result to bed entirely. This year’s team has punished its fair share of nonconference opponents, too, but the signature runs aren’t as prevalent with turnovers breaking the Orange’s momentum.

Instead, turnovers gave Detroit the momentum it needed to make a 16-0 run and a game of what had the looks of a laugher.

“The last five minutes we made as many mistakes (as) throughout the whole game in the last five minutes, just in that stretch,” senior guard Brandon Triche said.

After falling victim to an alley-oop by Detroit’s Doug Anderson that cut SU’s lead to 67-52 with 4:20 remaining, freshman center DaJuan Coleman picked the ball up behind the baseline. He then stepped onto the court, and the violation returned the ball to the Titans without taking more than two seconds off the clock.

“I think there’s a lot of things we can learn from,” Boeheim said. “We had a freshman take the ball out of bounds when he’s not supposed to – turnover.”

Thirty-four seconds later freshman forward Jerami Grant was stripped in the low post on a move that should’ve finished with a dunk. They were just two of a handful of untimely mistakes Boeheim cited after the narrow win.

Though the turnovers against Detroit are noteworthy for the history they jeopardized, they aren’t new.

SU has had double-digit turnovers in every game this season with the exception of its 87-51 romp over Colgate on Nov. 25. The Orange averages 14.8 turnovers per game for a total of 148 – 29 more than the 2011-12 Orange had at this point last year after playing then-No. 9 Florida, Stanford and Virginia Tech.

Heading toward the grandest of basketball stages against what Boeheim called “a tremendous team” and “a tremendous game,” the Orange need to change fast.

The Detroit game, though, may have served as a much-needed wake-up call. SU is by no means ignorant of its problem.

Said guard Michael Carter-Williams: “We turned the ball over … we can’t let up on teams anymore.”

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