Syracuse’s reliance on Elijah Hughes evident in loss to Virginia Tech

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on January 8, 2020 at 1:49 am Contact Michael: mmcclear@syr.edu | @MikeJMcCleary The ball came to Elijah Hughes, as it so often does, and the 6-foot-6 forward danced through contact on the perimeter, like a pinball taking its last few bounces before it falls out of play. It was late in the second half. Wabissa Bede dug into his torso and Hughes found a lane: The one that was open all game. This time, Hughes turned his back to the basket, muscled in and scored at the rim.Such a play is common for Hughes. He cut the Orange’s deficit to five points. But he needed a second try on this one. A turnover gave SU a chance to cut it further. Hughes got the ball again, dribbled up to the free-throw line and stepped back.“Coaches wanted me to make a play,” Hughes said. “Whether I was scoring, at the line, or getting someone a shot. So that was pretty much that.”Nearly doubling his first-half shot attempts in the second half of the game, Hughes and the Orange executed the game plan exactly how they wanted to. Syracuse (8-7, 1-3 Atlantic Coast), in a 67-63 loss to Virginia Tech (11-4, 2-2), looked to its star player late in the game as the game appeared to be falling out of reach. But sometimes even Hughes’ shots fell off the rim. In a rare inconsistent performance from Hughes, SU’s offensive futility was too much for him to overcome.“He finished well,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said. “He wasn’t good in the middle… or the beginning. He struggled there. But at the end, he finished well.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSo far this season for the Orange, Hughes has been a steadying presence despite the heavy load put upon him as the best player on a team littered with young players. But in recent games, Hughes has been lost within some of the Orange’s offensive inefficiencies.Hughes’ offensive outbursts undoubtedly coincide with some of SU’s best offensive stretches. Against Notre Dame, the Orange had a few timely makes yet no serious rhythm in the early part of the first half, and Hughes was held scoreless. But a nine-point burst awakened Syracuse and provided a game-changing run.Tuesday, Hughes attacked early and pulled up for a jumper to give the Orange their first two points of the game. Hughes looked alive after he bounced back and nailed a fadeaway 3-pointer early in the first half, and the Orange did too. An early lead ballooned to nine. Guarded mostly by Bede – whom he played against in high school – Hughes missed his final two shots of the half, yet the Orange still led.But the score flipped in the second half, and the Orange looked to Hughes to make a play. The ball was in his hands nearly every play. He tried what he could: On drives, on jumpers, on post-ups. Yet the Orange as a whole had gone cold. He started the second half 0-3 from the field and added a turnover. He didn’t get a bucket until the 12:11 mark of the second half.“They’re putting a lot of pressure on us,” Quincy Guerrier said.The frustration built, questionable foul calls occurred and Hughes’ energy gradually soured. Down by six points, Hughes rose up and drained a 3-point shot and the Orange jumped into a full-court press. SU trapped Bede at the midcourt line and Hughes closed in. Bede swung his arms and Hughes flew back. The play, followed by no call, proved costly. It opened up a lane for Bede, who swung the ball around, and Landers Nolley II found an open P.J. Horne in the corner.Hughes had been animated all game: He’d shaken his head at the free-throw line, argued calls, but this time he was more direct. He pointed out the far referee and shouted.“You know, I just thought (the officials) were bad,” Hughes said. “That’s my opinion. It’s not easy being a ref, obviously. But I just thought some of the calls were just… bad.”By then, the game was over. A few futile attempts by the Orange provided a glimmer of home, but as usual it was not enough. When the buzzer sounded, Hughes walked off the floor, slowed to a stop and shouted. He cocked his head up, and then quickly recalibrated. The struggles Tuesday are nothing new. And Hughes’ burden wasn’t either.He dipped his head, forcefully high-fived a team staff member and slugged to the locker room. Tonight, it wasn’t enough. It’s another loss behind him. Another game the Orange almost had. Another game to prepare for, when the ball will come back to Hughes again. Commentslast_img read more

Patrick Sandoval’s strong start cut short in Angels’ loss

first_img Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros “It’s not the best way to evaluate him,” Ausmus said of the abbreviated starts, “but let’s be honest. We want to keep him healthy more than evaluate him. We’ll have more time to evaluate him.”Sandoval, who had allowed only one run and was working on his second straight effective outing, said he knew in advance he’d be on a tight pitch count.“I know it’s for my own good,” Sandoval said. “It’s to keep me healthy. I’m on board.”In Sandoval’s first two seasons after he was drafted out of Mission Viejo High, he pitched in short-season leagues. In the next two, he pitched in full-season leagues, but his seasons ended at the beginning of September.Last year Sandoval pitched 122-1/3 innings with the Houston Astros and Angels organizations. This season he has pitched 106 innings, including his minor league work, with perhaps three or four starts left before the end of the season. Ausmus said the Angels want to keep him around the same workload as he had last year. Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros Otherwise, he issued a first-inning walk to Matt Chapman, and that was it. He retired the final five batters he faced, including two of his three strikeouts, before Ausmus pulled him.At the time the Angels trailed just 1-0, but Jake Jewell let the game get away in the fifth.Jewell gave up a homer to catcher Sean Murphy, who was making his major league debut. After allowing a single to Sheldon Neuse, Jewell gave up a two-run homer to Marcus Semien. It was Semien’s 17th career homer against the Angels, including nine in the past two seasons. He has 101 career homers.That was more than the Angels could muster against right-hander Tanner Roark, who weaved out of trouble in the early innings before settling into a groove.In the first inning, the Angels had runners at second and third with two outs and Shohei Ohtani at the plate, but Ohtani struck out. In the third, they loaded the bases with two outs, but Justin Upton grounded out. They wasted Matt Thaiss’ leadoff double in the fourth.After that, Roark retired nine straight hitters, getting the game into the seventh inning with the four-run lead intact. Asked why not just have him pitch deeper into games, but then shut him down before the end of the season, Ausmus said the Angels believe it’s better that he gets acclimated to working all the way to the end of the season.So far the Angels don’t have plans to treat rookie Jose Suarez the same way, Ausmus said. Suarez threw 117 innings last year, and so far this year he’s at 95-1/3.While the Angels try to limit Sandoval’s work toward the end, they are seeing him making progress in his performance.Sandoval had a 6.75 ERA through his first four games. Before his next start, pitching coach Doug White suggested that he move from the third base side of the rubber to the middle. That helped him pitch five scoreless innings against the Texas Rangers on Aug. 28, allowing just one hit and striking out nine.Sandoval explained that the new position helped him feel more confident with his curve and slider, in addition to the fastball and changeup that he’d relied on mostly before.“Absolutely, it’s a huge help,” said Sandoval, who was back on the middle of the rubber on Wednesday night.He gave up just one hit, an opposite-field homer to Jurrickson Profar in the second inning.Related Articles PreviousThe Angels’ Shohei Ohtani shows his frustration after striking out swinging – his third strikeout in as many at-bats – during the eighth inning of Wednesday’s game in Oakland. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani walks back to the dugout after striking out in the top of the sixth inning of Wednesday’s game against the A’s in Oakland. Ohtani went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)Angels starting pitcher Patrick Sandoval throws to the plate during the first inning of Wednesday’s game against the A’s in Oakland. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsOAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 04: Tanner Roark #60 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the top of the first inning at Ring Central Coliseum on September 04, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols follows through on a double off Oakland Athletics pitcher Tanner Roark during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)Angels starting pitcher Patrick Sandoval throws to the plate during the first inning of Wednesday’s game against the A’s in Oakland. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 04: Jurickson Profar #23 of the Oakland Athletics trots around the bases after hitting a solo home run off of Patrick Sandoval #43 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the bottom of the second inning at Ring Central Coliseum on September 04, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)Oakland Athletics’ Jurickson Profar celebrates after hitting a home run off Los Angeles Angels’ Patrick Sandoval during the second inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)Los Angeles Angels’ Brian Goodwin reacts to a strike thrown by Oakland Athletics’ Tanner Roark during the third inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)Oakland Athletics’ Sean Murphy watches his home run off Los Angeles Angels’ Jake Jewell, his first hit in the majors, during the fifth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)Oakland Athletics’ Sean Murphy, right, is congratulated by third base coach Matt Williams after hitting a home run off Los Angeles Angels’ Jake Jewell during the fifth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)Los Angeles Angels’ Jake Jewell (65) waits for Oakland Athletics’ Marcus Semien, left, to run the bases oh a two-run home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)Oakland Athletics’ Marcus Semien, right, celebrates with Sheldon Neuse (64) after hitting a two-run home run off Los Angeles Angels’ Jake Jewell during the fifth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 04: Jake Jewell #65 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches against the Oakland Athletics in the bottom of the fifth inning at Ring Central Coliseum on September 04, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani shows his frustration after striking out swinging – his third strikeout in as many at-bats – during the eighth inning of Wednesday’s game in Oakland. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani walks back to the dugout after striking out in the top of the sixth inning of Wednesday’s game against the A’s in Oakland. Ohtani went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)NextShow Caption1 of 14The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani walks back to the dugout after striking out in the top of the sixth inning of Wednesday’s game against the A’s in Oakland. Ohtani went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)Expand Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone OAKLAND — Although the Angels are going to have Patrick Sandoval walk for the end of his first marathon, they still want him to cross the finish line.Sandoval was pulled after just 3-1/3 innings and 52 pitches in the Angels’ 4-0 loss to the Oakland A’s on Wednesday night, a sign of what is to come over the season’s final four weeks for the 22-year-old rookie.Manager Brad Ausmus explained afterward that the Angels want to reduce Sandoval’s workload enough that he can make it to the end of his first season pitching through September. Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more