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: | @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

Arsenal could offload three players to fund Partey transfer

first_imgPremier League side, Arsenal, are stepping up efforts to sign Atletico Madrid ace Thomas Partey.The Gunners have been strongly linked with a move for the Ghana international, who has a €50 million release clause in his current deal.According to British newspaper, The Sun, Arsenal are willing to offload one of three players to fund the Partey deal.Midfielders Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi, as well as French forward Alex Lacazette, have been listed as the possible departures.Arsenal are targeting a potential return of £65-70m for the three players, which will go towards their reported expected £144m losses for this financial year due largely to the coronavirus pandemic.Partey has been a mainstay in Diego Someone’s side this season, making 31 appearances in the La Liga so far.last_img read more

Venus egdes Kvitova, to face Stephens in US Open semis,Venus egdes Kvitova, to face Stephens in US Open semis

first_imgSeven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams became the oldest semi-finalist in US Open history at age 37 by defeating two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 6–3, 3–6, 7–6 (7/2).US ninth seed Williams, seeking her third US Open crown, advanced to a Thursday matchup for a spot in Saturday’s final against 83rd–ranked compatriot Sloane Stephens.Stephens, who missed 11 months with a left foot injury before returning at Wimbledon, matched her best Grand Slam showing by outlasting Latvian 16th seed Anastasija Sevastova 6–3, 3–6, 7–6 (7/4).Williams, who improved to 2–4 all-time against the Czech 13th seed, will return to the world top five for the first time since January 2011 after dominating the tie-break.“I’m so fortunate to have won that match. It came down to the wire,” Williams said. “I try to tell myself enjoy the competition, enjoy the battle and I think I was able to do that.”Williams, the oldest Slam semi–finalist since Martina Navratilova at Wimbledon in 1994, won the 2000 and 2001 US crowns. She was runner–up this year at Wimbledon and the Australian Open and could reach three Slam finals in a year for the first time since 2002.Kvitova battled back from a five-month absence after a knife-wielding home intruder injured her left hand last December.Williams swatted a backhand winner to break for a 5–3 edge and held to take the first set but Kvitova led 3–0 when rain forced a closure of the Arthur Ashe Stadium roof.Kvitova fought off two break points in the fifth and seventh games to hold on the way to a third set, then broke to lead 2–1 only to double fault away a break to set up the tie-breaker.If Americans Madison Keys and CoCo Vanderweghe win Wednesday, they will produce the first all-American US Open semi-finals since 1981. “That would be huge,” Williams said, adding, “I’d love that.”“This is amazing,” Stephens said. “I hope there are four Americans in the semi-finals,” she said.Stephens has won 13 of her past 15 matches and matched her 2013 Australian Open semi-final run for best Slam effort. “This is just incredible,” Stephens said. “When I started my comeback at Wimbledon I could never have dreamed of coming back and having these results. It’s indescribable.”‘I’m not a robot. Sorry.’Sevastova, who matched her best major run from last year at New York by ousting Maria Sharapova to reach the last eight, led 3–1 in the third set before Stephens rallied.“I just told myself to keep fighting and stay consistent,” Stephens said. “I knew if I just stick with it and stayed in every point I’d have my opportunity and I did. I was able to play loose and bam, here we are,” she said.In the tie-breaker, Stephens took four of the last five points, three on Sevastova errors before hitting a down-the-line backhand winner ensured her win to reach the top 35 in next week’s rankings.Sevastova admitted nerves got to her in the tie-breaker, saying, “It’s normal. You play for semi-finals of US Open. I’m not a robot. Sorry.”Czech reigning number one Karolina Pliskova, last year’s US Open runner-up, must reach the final or lose the top spot to already-ousted Garbine Muguruza, the reigning Wimbledon champion.Men’s resultsSpanish 12th seed Pablo Carreno Busta, who has not dropped a set, cruised into his first Grand Slam semi-final by defeating Argentine 29th seed Diego Schartzman 6–4, 6–4, 6–2.Carreno Busta, the first player to face four qualifiers in any Grand Slam, booked a Friday semi-final against the later winner between South African 28th seed Kevin Anderson and 17th seeded American Sam Querrey.“Incredible,” Carreno Busta said. “It’s something that I always dreamed about but something I never thought I was going to arrive here. It’s a great feeling.” Venus Williams US Open 2017 Venus Williams US Open 2017 COMMENTS September 06, 2017 COMMENT SHARE SHARE EMAIL × tennis SHARE Published onlast_img read more