Frank Howard ‘not anywhere close to right’ in Syracuse’s 60-56 win over Arizona State

first_img Published on March 15, 2018 at 1:35 am Contact Tomer: [email protected] | @tomer_langer Facebook Twitter Google+ DAYTON, Ohio — After two quick turnovers, Frank Howard righted the ship. He scored eight straight points early in the first half. It appeared Syracuse’s only player with NCAA Tournament experience was going to lead it early on.But, Howard didn’t score again until there was 6:36 left in the game.No. 11 seed Syracuse’s (21-13, 8-10 Atlantic Coast) junior point guard wasn’t his usual self. Howard missed two days of practice because of strep throat, only coming back for yesterday’s practice which was lighter than usual according to head coach Jim Boeheim. Howard still played all 40 minutes but had to work much harder in them. Still, he did just enough to help lead SU to a win over No. 11 seed Arizona State (20-12, 8-10 Pacific-12) on Wednesday night at University of Dayton Arena. The win earned SU a berth in the first round of the NCAA Tournament against sixth-seeded Texas Christian University on Friday night in Detroit.“He definitely was not anywhere close to right tonight,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. “He missed two practice days. Strep throat knocks it out of you.”Howard, SU’s junior point guard who has started every game this season, finished with 12 points. He shot 2-of-7 from deep and 4-for-13 overall, to go along with a pair of turnovers.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe takeaways came early, as Howard protected the ball better after the start of the game. Still, the issue was that he wasn’t as involved in the offense as he normally is.“I didn’t really have any legs today,” Howard said. “Some of those shots were short, my game is definitely predicated on my first step. I didn’t really have that explosiveness tonight. I was trying to get my wind back, get my legs back from that sickness.”MORE COVERAGE: Syracuse edges Arizona State, 60-56, to get to NCAA Tournament Round of 64Paschal Chukwu’s clutch free-throw shooting seals No. 11 Syracuse 60-56 victory over No. 11 Arizona StateGallery: Syracuse earns first round berth in NCAA Tournament with 60-56 win over Arizona Statecenter_img Back in February, Howard came to a startling conclusion after studying himself on film: He needed to play bigger. He said smaller guards force him to be “over-quick,” and they can speed him up. ASU’s guards were several inches shorter than him. That fact, combined with his recent battle with strep throat, contributed to his decreased explosiveness on Wednesday night.The Sun Devils who covered Howard varied, and they pressed for nearly the entirety of the game. Howard added that the ASU bench “was hollering,” indicating it was a slight distraction. He knows he has a height advantage in most games, and he’s repeatedly said that he needs to exploit that advantage.But on Wednesday night, Howard said he grew tired. After several SU rebounds, he pointed toward sophomore guard Tyus Battle, signaling for him to bring up the ball instead.Down the stretch, Howard said that some of the extra timeouts that were called helped him get his legs under him. He came out of a timeout with seven minutes left with Syracuse down seven and promptly hit a floater. Howard said that he normally feels that his floater is reliable when he’s on balance. On most of his attempts tonight, he wasn’t.That shot was the first, though, that eventually sparked Syracuse’s comeback run. Howard, along with Battle, shored up the top of SU’s press, constantly pushing ASU’s guards farther away from the basket on their shot attempts. And then he capped the game off with two free throws with 0.4 seconds left.“I was worried about him in the game,” Boeheim said, “and I thought he hung in there. He hung in there pretty good.” Commentslast_img read more

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