Dajuan Coleman provides steady performance in Syracuse’s 71-50 win over Monmouth

first_img Published on November 19, 2016 at 2:28 pm Contact Connor: cgrossma@syr.edu | @connorgrossman Facebook Twitter Google+ Before Andrew White could score any of his 18 first-half points, there was Dajuan Coleman. All 6-foot-9, 258 pounds of him found creases within Monmouth’s defense. That was no easy task for Syracuse players initially. They combined for six points in the first five minutes.Coleman’s first glimmer of offense came as expected. He was fouled as he crashed the boards and tried to tip-in a second-chance opportunity. The second opportunity proved more unusual. Instead of posting up near the basket, Coleman backed off and hung around the perimeter. White fed Coleman the ball just inside the arc, and the big man splashed in a mid-range jumper.On a night when there was no question as to the focal point of the offense, Coleman was the team’s leading scorer for a fleeting, two-minute stretch.“When I score a quick bucket, that just gets you going,” Coleman said. “You want to come back and get another bucket, get a stop on defense. It just gets you more in the game.”Ironically, Coleman really wasn’t in the game at first. He found quick success at the start of the game, but played only six first-half minutes in No. 18 Syracuse’s (3-0) 71-50 win against Monmouth (1-2). The Orange started out shaky on defense, missing rotations in the zone and allowing the Hawks room to run in the paint. But the narrative tilted in the second half. Monmouth shot 1-of-18 from 3 in the latter 20 minutes and Coleman led an effort to seal off the interior. He drew the praise of Jim Boeheim after the game for nabbing seven second-half boards, not to mention his seven total points.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textColeman offered the most complete game of his final season on Friday. He stabilized the Orange by vacuuming rebounds on both sides of the ball, with his offensive contributions only an added benefit.“He played great,” fellow big man Paschal Chukwu said. “He did what coach expects him to do: be an inside presence.”Boeheim has been reluctant to lean on Coleman for significant minutes at this part in the schedule. It could be rooted in Coleman’s fragility, lackluster competition or wanting to get answers about Chukwu. But if it wasn’t already apparent, Coleman illustrated just how far his successor has to go. Chukwu’s still trying to catch passes and harness all 86 inches of his physique. Coleman possesses an intellectual part of his game — maneuvering the zone, rebounding without fouling — that Chukwu has yet to fully grasp.The Providence transfer struggled through some of his 10 minutes on the court, fumbling around with his temporary sport goggles. He’s supposed to use them to protect his right eye after getting hit by a ball on Tuesday. Instead he seemed consumed by the lenses on his face, which he removed after his first time out on the court.Amid the revolving door of centers in the first half, Tyler Lydon included, Monmouth continued to get underneath the basket and outscored SU in the paint, 18-4. Coleman’s more consistent presence in the second half kept the Hawks at bay. The senior, perhaps better than any other Orange defender, can carve out space for himself down low. That led the Hawks to try for more 3s, when they had just proven their best offensive game was around the hoop.“He knows the zone really well,” Tyler Roberson said of Coleman, “and he can block shots when guys try to attack him. Experience blended with that together just makes him a really good defensive player.”And especially on this year’s team, experience is the most valued commodity. Commentslast_img

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