first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Syracuse head coach Quentin Hillsman turned to his right and one-by-one plucked Abby Grant, Cornelia Fondren, Julia Chandler, Maggie Morrison and Bria Day off the bench to substitute in.Just around 30 seconds had elapsed at the start of the second half, but Hillsman was already sending in a complete team of subs.“We got some minutes spread out,” Hillsman said. “That was important for us going into this game to try to really deepen our rotation so we can play a little bit faster.”Syracuse’s starters weren’t getting it done. Morgan State, a team that Syracuse center Briana Day said the Orange should have killed, took a lead into the second quarter and was still hanging around until the final frame. Finally in the fourth quarter, with the help of a man-to-man full-court press made possible by a revolving door of players coming on and off the bench, No. 25 Syracuse (2-1) pulled away in a 90-61 win over Morgan State (1-3).Morrison, Bria Day, Grant and Chandler — all SU reserves — each logged season-highs in minutes. The Orange scored 31 points in the fourth quarter, its highest mark in a quarter through three games this year. Eighteen of the 31 came from the bench.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Once we got to the fourth quarter and we’re able to apply our pressure it really changed the game,” Hillsman said. “Once we started to turn the ball over and started getting easy baskets, that was the difference in the basketball game.”The game initially looked to be an immediate blowout. Two Brianna Butler 3-pointers highlighted a 15-2 start for SU just four minutes in and Hillsman began to reach into his reserves.The Bears then turned to guard Braennan Farrar on the outside and found success. Morgan State forward Lexus Spears set a pick on Peterson at the top of the key, giving Farrar enough space to sink an open 3. Peterson turned around and yelled out, “come on,” in frustration.It was the third 3-pointer in a row for Farrar and gave the Bears a 21-19 lead with 16 seconds left in the first quarter.As Peterson walked off the court a few seconds later, Hillsman wagged his finger disapprovingly at her.SU countered to outscore Morgan State by 17 in the second quarter, but the Bears kept clawing back to within single digits.“Teams that we’re supposed to kill, we have to kill them,” Briana Day said. “We can’t just skate through it.”In the second half, Hillsman traded Syracuse’s zone full-court pressure in for a man-to-man press. He saved it until after halftime, he said, so that Morgan State couldn’t go into the locker room and make an adjustment.The result was passes thrown out of bounds, several backcourt violations for the Bears and, on occasion, Syracuse players like starting guard Brittney Sykes and Peterson diving into seats to save a ball knocked away on the press.Each time Hillsman sensed a player was tired, he subbed her out for a pair of fresh legs. The Syracuse players rotated in and out so quick that at one point Morrison was standing on the court with her white warm-up shirt still on.“We kept throwing fresh bodies at them and they weren’t really subbing as much as we were so it really allowed us to keep the same defensive intensity,” Peterson said.In a span of less than a minute and a half in the fourth quarter, the Orange racked up four steals, 10 points and conceded none. A fast break 3-pointer by Peterson capped the scoring burst for the Orange and boosted its lead to 85-54 with 3:34 remaining — its largest lead of the night.Hillsman said the team came out flat, possibly because of an emotional hangover from nearly pulling off an upset against No. 4 Tennessee on Friday. And though it took until the fourth quarter, the Orange was eventually able to put the Bears away for the 31-point win.“I thought our kids came out of the locker room and really responded in that fourth quarter,” Hillsman said. Comments Published on November 23, 2015 at 11:22 pm Contact Jon: jrmettus@syr.edu | @jmettuslast_img

Syracuse pulls away from Morgan State after defensive switch in 90-61 win

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