Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim met with the media following the Orange’s 63-60 win at Florida State.
“They’re pressure defense is so good. I’m happy that we didn’t turn it over more than 13 (times). Our defense really won the game for us. It has not been good, but our defense kept getting stops when we had to have them. When they put their shooters in, we tried to drive that guy. We tried to take advantage of their shooter on the offensive end. Jimmy did a real good job of that a couple times. I thought our defense was the difference. You’re down eight on the road and you come back and take a lead like that, that’s hard to do. They are in your face the whole game. They’re a tremendous defensive team, especially in here. They’re a tremendous defensive team. I thought even though they missed shots from the three, we were there. We were getting them a little off balance from the three. Teams are taking 30-plus threes every game we play. Some time it’s going to come along where a team doesn’t make 15 of them or something.
“I thought we rebounded the ball better. In the first half, Frank did a really good job for a couple minutes there. I thought Symir, even though he didn’t score, he got five assists, he pushed it up. I thought he did a good job. At the end of the day, Joe and Cole, I know Cole is going to make eight or 10 of these threes one of these days. He’s started out one for six, I think. Then he hit a couple and I think there’s a couple more there. If they’re going to face guard Buddy and Joe that way, Cole’s going to get shots. He’s going to have to cash them in and I think he will as he gets a little more game experience with us. We had a horrible trip (Battle 4 Atlantis). We had to come back, these two games were really big games for us. Got to go home and get ready for a great Villanova team. Tremendous win here. Tremendous character win here to hang in at the end. For Cole to go get that ball and make the free throws. We wanted to foul but when we did foul last time it didn’t work. So I guess maybe it was a good thing we didn’t foul. Gutty win. Really hard win here.”
Q: Is the 1-1-3 (zone) here to stay?
“Well we use it and then we switch out of it in certain situations. Buddy knows how to get out of it. He was playing center one play. Jimmy forgot he was the center and Buddy went in there and played the center spot. We use it. We can come out of it in different circumstances. Depends where the ball goes and what they’re doing. We can come back out of it. It’s been a little more effective. But it’s not just that. It’s that our forwards are moving better, Jesse’s moving better to the corner, we trapped them really well a few times. Our defense was good. We needed that. We’ve been struggling on the defensive end.”
Q: Have you used it anytime before (Indiana)?
“No, we’ve never used it.”
Q: What was the difference offensively between the first half and the second half?
“I think that we got Jimmy, when they switched and put the bigger guy on Jimmy, he drove. When they got the bigger guy on Buddy, he tried to drive. When they had the shooter in the game, he’s not as good defensively so we tried to drive him. Jimmy did a great job on him. Then they had to come off and help, and we knew Cole was going to keep getting that shot over there. He had six good looks in the first half and seven good looks in the second half. He’s going to get that shot. Joe did a good job of getting Jesse down on the little guy and getting him the ball a couple times too.”
Q: Did you want Cole at the line there at the end?
“Yeah, I mean he had to come and get the ball. That’s his spot.”
Q: Was there a concerted effort to try and push Florida State outside to take threes?
“We tried to protect inside as much as we could. They did start to drive a little bit. When they have their defensive pressure, their big guy can’t be in the game because then you’re switching on to Buddy or Jimmy and they’re going to drive him. So they’ve got to go a little smaller, so now they don’t have that inside presence there.”
Q: Talk about rebounding. You guys rebounded pretty well today.
“Better. Better. We’ve got to keep getting better. That’s an area that, obviously, we have to improve on.”
Q: With Buddy being double a lot this game, what did you have to change in the second half?
“The other guys have to take advantage of that. They doubled him, Jimmy got the ball and Jimmy drove in and we ended up with a three for Cole Swider. They’re going to double him, other guys are going to have to pick it up. Buddy made two impossible drives. I don’t know how he made those shots even. They’re going to double him or when he goes with the ball, they’re coming to help, other guys are going to get shots. That’s the way it is when you’re a really good player. Some nights that’s what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to get it to the open guy and we have other guys that can make shots.”
Q: Were you surprised with Florida State’s lack of success at the three point line that they shot a bunch of them?
“Everybody does. Everybody does. Everybody does. Everybody does. Watch it.”
Q: How big of an impact did it have in the second half when they couldn’t make shots to set up the press?
“They stopped pressing a little bit at the end of the first half and then… it’s hard to press for 40 minutes like that. We handled their pressure really good the whole game. The biggest difference was the mismatches. Where we can get Jimmy in a mismatch or they had to help and Cole would get a three. Or we could get Jesse rolling down. Some of those situations. It can cost you a game, Jimmy missed two layups. You’ve got to make those. We had a bad turnover there at the end. But you’ve got to hang on and find a way and we did.”
Q: You just ended their 25 game home (ACC) winning streak. Why have they been so good here?
“Because they’re good. They’ve been good. Have you been watching? They’ve been in the top 10 the last three years. They’ve had a top 10 team for two or three years that I remember. It’s hard to beat those teams on the road. It’s hard to beat them here. They’re good. They’re a really good team and this team’s good too. They just missed some shots for us. Overall we handled their pressure pretty well and we got situations we can take advantage of. We just couldn’t make anything then all of a sudden Joe makes a three, Cole makes a three, pass, pass, Jimmy made a drive, Cole made a (three), we made some shots. That was the difference, really.”
Q: You didn’t put Benny back in after taking him out in the first half. What happened there?
“He’s just standing there. He’s got to do something. He had two great chances to go get a ball and he just didn’t do it. We have to win. We’ll play the guys that can help us win. There’s a lot of freshmen around the country that aren’t playing. Top 10 players. UCLA has one, (Peyton) Watson. Gonzaga’s got two, (Hunter) Sallis and another kid. Villanova has two top recruits from last year, (Trey) Patterson and the other kid they had. They’re not playing. Sometimes freshmen aren’t ready. He’s just not ready right now. Just got to keep working hard and we’ll see if we can find spots for him.”
Q: You didn’t shoot well today but it was still a two point game, three point game.
“Our defense kept us in the game.”