Syracuse center Rick Jackson powered his team to victory by dominating the Spartans inside. The 6'9" junior controlled the glass, especially on the offensive end where he grabbed 6 of his 16 rebound, several of which went for put backs and easy buckets; he matched a season-high with 17 points as two top ten teams collided in the Jimmy V Classic, but Syracuse left victorious behind Jackson's play.
With this latest defeat, Michigan State, the Big Ten favorite, stands 6-3, but all three losses have come at the hands of top ten nationally ranked teams. Turnovers and second-chance points continue to haunt the Spartans. In last night's game, MSU turned the ball over 16 times, the seventh time in nine games they have 16+ turnovers. Also, in their three losses, the normally sturdy Spartans have given up 38 offensive boards. The frontcourt was more than soft as the starting forwards- Delvon Roe, Austin Thornton and Garrick Sherman combined for 5 total rebounds, while backups Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix managed just one board. Syracuse's Jackson alone manhandled his opponents.
Draymond Green was effective immediately due to his elite passing skills and vision against the Orange's 2-3 zone, but he was effective, but limited in part to foul trouble. In the first possessions with Green in the game, he got to the high-post causing the Syracuse D to collapse on him, kicking the ball out to a wide open Durrell Summers for a 3. The next time down the court, Green again established position in the high-post using a pass-fake to shift the zone before sinking a 12-foot jumper, his only field-goal on the night.
Despite Syracuse's inability to make perimeter shots (2-for-11 from 3-point range; 49-of-169, 29% behind the arc on the season), Jackson has been a consistent force down low. He posted his seventh double-double in nine games for the Orange. He slimmed down nearly 30 pounds for his new role as the feature player in Boeheim's offense, playing 35 minutes a game and averaging 13.6 points and 12.8 rebounds to boast.
The Spartans have Oakland and Prairie View up next before taking on Texas and Minnesota in back-to-back games, while Syracuse won't have a challenging game until the New Year when they take on Notre Dame.