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California 73, Syracuse 59: The numbers of note

November 21, 2014 Columns No Comments

NEW YORK – In the second semifinal game of the 2K Classic at Madison Square Garden, California defeated Syracuse 73-59. The  Golden Bears advanced to play Texas in the championship game, while Syracuse will play Iowa in the consolation game beforehand.

The numbers of note:

Syracuse California
Possessions 74 70
Offensive efficiency 80 108
eFG percentage 39 54
FT rate 28 30
Offensive rebound percentage 27 18
Turnover rate 15 15

The pace wound up in the seventies as Syracuse trailed by double digits the second half and pressured full court to attempt to get back in it. Cal held a slight lead before finishing strong to take a 34-22 lead into the half. The last seven minutes of the first half saw the Golden Bears bury five three-pointers to gain separation.


Cal head coach Cuonzo Martin (Ray Floriani photo)

Cal coach Cuonzo Martin had a solid game plan. He attacked the Syracuse zone with a high-post player who often reversed the ball for perimeter shots. The Golden bears were not shy about launching from downtown as they shot 8 of 19 (42 percent) from long range.

Rebounding and shot selection should have a bearing on getting to the line. Syracuse enjoyed a 27-18 percent edge in offensive rebounding percentage. The Orange also attempted 26 percent of their field goals from three-point range. California attempted 33 percent of theirs from a similar location. Interestingly, California ultimately enjoyed a higher free throw rate (30 to 28 percent) than that of Syracuse.

Caring for the ball was a priority as both teams showed a 15 percent turnover rate. California distributed it a bit better, assisting on 22 of 26 field goals for an outstanding 84 percent assist rate. Sam Singer led the way with eight assists as Tyrone Wallace added six and David Kravish, a 6-10 forward, contributed five.

Jordan Mathews of Cal, led all scorers with 22 points. Sophomore guard Jabari Bird (16 points) was 4 of 5 from beyond the arc. Kaleb Joseph and Michael Gbinije tied for Syracuse scoring honors with 13 points apiece.

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