Facebook Twitter Google+ TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — When freshman forward Oshae Brissett picked up his second foul midway through the first half, Jim Boeheim turned to his right and called on Howard Washington. The move meant Syracuse would be running with a three-guard lineup, uncommon through the first half of the season.What it also meant: Syracuse would put a key guard position in the hands of a true freshman who had played a grand total of eight minutes over Syracuse’s previous four games.Yet not only did Washington prove the move to be worthwhile, he demonstrated for the first time this year that he can run the point. It is an encouraging sign for Syracuse, with former graduate transfer Geno Thorpe’s departure making the point guard position basically a one-man show for starter Frank Howard.Saturday afternoon in Syracuse’s (12-6, 1-4 Atlantic Coast) 101-90 loss at No. 23 Florida State (13-4, 2-3), Washington more than doubled his career highs in minutes (24) and tripled his career points (nine), running the point as part of a three-guard lineup, and taking the one-guard spot when Frank Howard fouled out. Washington looked comfortable and poised, committing only one turnover and knocking down three of his four shots. The 6-foot-3 guard added one assist and collected three rebounds.“Being prepared, coming off the bench,” Washington said, “or going a whole half not playing. You know what I mean? That’s kind of tough.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textA junior averaging 15.4 points per game, Howard plays nearly 40 minutes a night. When he was out of the game, the Orange was called with a pair of 10-second violations. His absence was felt. But Frank Howard said Washington can handle the basketball, appear calm against pressure and knock down open shots.Washington entered the game midway through the first half for forward Marek Dolezaj. He immediately drilled a 3-pointer, without hesitation. He then pushed the ball up court and, a couple of possessions later, he picked up a steal and split two defenders near midcourt. He earned a trip to the line but missed both free throws.“He’s a steady player,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said last month. “He can make an open shot. He’s smart. He knows the game. He’s a very smart player.”Later, he drove baseline, sucking the defense his way. He kicked the ball out to freshman forward Oshae Brissett for an open 3. And, with under one minute left in regulation, Washington hit two free throws to cut the FSU lead to one point.Whether he sees more time as part of Syracuse’s three-guard lineup remains to be seen. It could be that Boeheim resorts back to previous lineups and plays Washington sparingly. Or, if Washington continues to produce in the time he is given, he could fill a void by giving Howard more time to work off-ball.“He’s a great player,” Howard said. “He gave me a chance to get off the ball a little bit and I’m confident when he has the ball.” Comments Published on January 13, 2018 at 7:27 pm Contact Matthew: email@example.com | @MatthewGut21
To win this week, it will be imperative for all the players to keep stepping up as they have been with the changing lineups. The team is hoping for another sweep this weekend against non-conference teams as it will play 4-4 University of San Diego and 3-6 Long Beach State. The Trojans will also need a stingy defense against a USD offense that already has 418 kills and 36 aces this season. Some of USC’s veteran players could make their return this weekend. Senior outside hitter Khalia Lanier tried to come back after being cleared for her concussion this weekend but got sick during a match. Senior opposite hitter Emily Baptista is still not back from her knee injury. Long Beach struggles with ball handling and block errors, which is a huge advantage for the Trojans offensively. It is important for the Trojans not to get too comfortable in non-conference contests, especially after the success of the past weekend. Both opposing teams have plenty of extremely versatile players that could pose as threats to USC. Freshman outside hitter Kalen Owes, who leads the Trojans with 97 kills, serves during USC’s 3-0 over Villanova at the Trojan Invitational. (Sinead Chang | Daily Trojan) “Lanier’s missed a lot of time,” Crouch said. “We haven’t won all the matches where people were out, but we were competitive against really good teams, and that’s great.” Head coach Brent Crouch said he has a good feeling about the team this year but acknowledged that this tournament will be difficult. Although USC hasn’t been at full strength recently, other players have stepped in to fill key roles. Senior middle blocker Jasmine Gross had an exceptional performance over the weekend and received Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week honors. Meanwhile, freshman outside hitter Kalen Owes was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week. “Our team, because there are so many perfectionists, [is] learning how to work through mistakes when they happen because they are going to happen every game, every match at every level,” Crouch said. “Learning how to be OK with those and connecting and coming together — that is something we’ve been working on the last week.” CSULB is also a strong offensive team, with seven players who already have at least 20 kills this season. The Trojans won’t be able to take the Beach lightly, despite its unimpressive record. USD almost collected a sweep this weekend on the road, and it figures to bring plenty of confidence to the invitational against USC and CSULB. The Trojans have kept their errors under control, but USD has not been able to do the same, committing 149 errors this season. The Trojans will need to contain their own errors and take advantage of their opponents’ mistakes. “There’s not a team we’ve played this year that I don’t think could beat us,” Crouch said. “If they are on fire, and they are playing well, and we lose a little focus or just don’t execute as well as we can, there is nobody that can’t beat us — and kind of vice versa.” USC cannot make the same mistakes it has in previous road tournaments, such as making too many errors. It’s important for the Trojans to stay focused and engaged in the games and learn through the previous road mistakes to ensure two wins this weekend. After winning the Trojan Invitational last weekend, the USC women’s volleyball team will head south to the University of San Diego Invitational No. 2 Thursday and Friday.