Pace serves as 2nd scoring option

first_imgIn a game about as attractive as his jump shot, Josh Pace provided Syracuse a much-needed second scorer in SU’s 49-46 win over Pittsburgh.Pace repeatedly backed down Pittsburgh’s smaller point guard Carl Krauser, spinning and twisting while lofting his awkward-looking floater. Pace buried 6 of 13 field goal attempts, scoring 11 points and providing Hakim Warrick an outlet from ever-present double-teams‘Josh was great,’ Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. ‘He’s a hard-nosed guy and he’s tough. He got those shots, the loose balls, those were all key. He’s a hard-nosed guy, he plays tough, and this is a good type of game for him.’Pace’s furious footwork and quick hands on defense helped prevent Pittsburgh from easy access to the interior of Syracuse’s zone. Pace picked up three steals as Pittsburgh eventually stopped slashing to the hoop on his side. Pace also helped prevent Pittsburgh from dominating on the boards by grabbing five rebounds from the top of SU’s 2-3 zone.‘I was just trying to be more aggressive and look for my shots,’ Pace said. ‘I’ve been trying to do that the last couple games.’AdvertisementThis is placeholder textPace knows he needs to score. In SU’s five Big East losses, he has failed to score in double figures and has averaged seven points. His newfound concentration on offense has helped.The 13 shots were a season high and took some scoring pressure off point guard Gerry McNamara, who has been saddled with both scoring and offensive set-up duties during Billy Edelin’s absence.Pace made 7 of 11 shots in SU’s last game against Villanova, netting 14 points and tallied nine points in the previous game against Georgetown.‘Josh had a fantastic game,’ McNamara said. ‘He made all the big shots when he had to.’On the reboundCraig Forth pored anxiously over the numbers before nodding his approval.‘Yeah, that’s OK,’ Forth said, after seeing that Syracuse had been outrebounded by seven against Pitt.Normally that statistic would send Forth into a series of head-shakes and a sullen announcement that he needed to improve his play, but after a hard-fought game against the No. 3 Panthers, it left a feeling of satisfaction.During the previous meeting, a 66-45 Pittsburgh win, the Panthers outrebounded Syracuse by 14. Pittsburgh’s damage on the glass was limited by a combined effort. While no Syracuse player grabbed double-digit boards, all eight players who played picked up at least one. Five Orangemen – Warrick, Forth, Pace, Jeremy McNeil and Terrence Roberts – had at least four rebounds.‘We knew we could play just as physical as them,’ Roberts said. ‘We have big guys. If they put their hands on you, you put your hands on them. If they push you, you push them. We all got out there, myself, Craig, Hakim….’As Roberts listed names, Forth walked by, still pleased with the effort.‘Josh, Jeremy, Demetris (Nichols),’ Forth continued. ‘It was a total team effort.’Crowd pleaserTerrence Roberts must have had a pretty impressive high school basketball career.Because when the freshman found himself on the floor at the end of SU’s biggest game this season, he wasn’t fazed at all. Seems St. Anthony’s High in Jersey City, N.J., had a pretty intense road schedule – enough to match the building that housed the nation’s longest winning streak.‘I like that type of crowd,’ Roberts said. ‘I’m used to situations like that, because that’s how it was in high school. I didn’t really feel any pressure at the end of the game. When you start feeling pressure, that’s when you start making mistakes.’Roberts heeded his own advice, playing 22 solid minutes, a career high, grabbing five rebounds and scoring two points. He also drew a key charge with SU up, 40-38, with 1:32 left in the second half.‘Coach (Jim Boeheim) told me that I was going to get more minutes,’ Roberts said. ‘I’ve been practicing well, coming along, playing different positions.’Boeheim used a big lineup that has seldom been used this season. For much of the game’s stretch, Boeheim teamed the 6-foot-8 Warrick and either the 6-foot-10 McNeil or 7-foot Forth with the 6-foot-9 Roberts.‘If you get bigger, you can rebound better,’ Boeheim said. ‘If they missed their perimeter shots, we knew we’d need to get the rebounds to stay in the game.‘Terrence did a good job today. He’s getting better.’This and thatSyracuse scored 19 points in the first half, its lowest total in a half this season. Syracuse’s lowest before yesterday was 21 against Pitt in their previous matchup. … How much did SU try to slow the game down? It scored just two fast break points, a thunderous dunk by Warrick on a pass from McNamara. … No Pittsburgh player scored in double digits, and Chris Taft and Carl Krauser led the Panthers with nine points each. … Late in the second half, Boeheim yelled at a trainer who was aiding Warrick while Pace shot free throws. His crime? The trainer was putting a bandage on Warrick’s hand in the corner where the 3-point line met the baseline, meaning Warrick would’ve committed a lane violation had Pace shot before Boeheim told Warrick to run past the 3-point arc. Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 29, 2004 at 12:00 pmcenter_img Commentslast_img

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