first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ It’s easy to forget. As Syracuse keeps winning and scoring in a multitude of ways, its deft 3-point shooting ability is not this team’s trademark. But it is a weapon.Syracuse’s long-range shooting was lethal in its last two games, when Kris Joseph made 6-of-11 3s against Georgetown and the Orange hit 10-of-16 from deep against Connecticut.‘We’re not labeled as a 3-point shooting team anyway, but we do shoot the ball pretty well I think,’ said Joseph, who is 9-of-15 in SU’s last two games. ‘The last couple games we’ve been shooting extremely well, but sometimes we have our off days.’Syracuse can live by the 3, but it won’t die by the 3. It’s a fortunate position to be in —if Syracuse isn’t hitting from beyond the arc, the Orange can drive to the basket, work the ball inside or press to force turnovers and easy baskets. But if Syracuse gets hot from outside, as it did in Saturday’s 85-67 victory over the Huskies, 3-point shooting can win the game.The Orange’s arsenal of scorers has been well documented. The second-ranked team in the country can play 10 deep. Dion Waiters —perhaps the best sixth man in the country —has said time and time again the scariest thing about this team is someone different can be the scoring leader every game.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut if players like Joseph and senior guard Scoop Jardine can both drive to the hoop to create points and pull up from outside for 3, have fun putting together a defense to shut Syracuse down.Jardine did both against UConn. With SU leading 56-52, he drove into the paint in transition before the Huskies defense was set up. His penetration allowed him to kick to an open Joseph for 3 on the left side of the arc.Later, with Syracuse ahead 63-61 and 6:26 to play, Jardine started the Orange’s 18-1 run to put the game away by knocking down 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions, forcing a Connecticut timeout.Jardine, Joseph, Waiters and Brandon Triche. All can get to the rim or pull up for 3.‘That’s the best thing about this team this year,’ Waiters said. ‘Anybody can get it going. We don’t even know that we’re going on those tight runs until you look up and somebody tells you.’Jardine downplayed the hot 3-point shooting, calling his team ‘streaky.’ But he acknowledged he’s on a team that isn’t crushed by a bad shooting night.It allows Syracuse to take what it’s given by the defense. When the Orange heads to the Big East and NCAA tournaments, it will see contrasting defensive schemes in short periods of time.The Orange can shoot over a zone, as evidenced by Joseph’s six 3s against Georgetown’s 2-3 zone Wednesday. And SU was a matchup nightmare for the Huskies’ man-to-man defense. Waiters, Triche and Jardine are 210, 205 and 190 pounds, respectively.The Huskies’ guards, Ryan Boatright and Shabazz Napier? They weigh in at a light 160 and 171 pounds.Jardine had one of the best shooting games a player could have against UConn, going 8-of-9 from the field and knocking down all four 3-point attempts.‘We got shots that we’ve been getting, haven’t been making,’ SU head coach Jim Boeheim said. ‘We’ve been getting pretty good looks at the 3-point line and haven’t made them.’Joseph said it’s a matter of being hot from beyond the arc in recent games after a period in which Syracuse was pretty cold shooting. SU had its moments from 3-point range earlier this season, namely making 11 treys at North Carolina State and going 10-of-17 from long range at Providence.It’s not very often a team comes along that can win at any pace. Syracuse can outscore you or outdefend you. The Orange can go from scoring 64 points in a grind-it-out overtime win over Georgetown to dropping 85 on UConn.That offensive versatility —with the ability to score inside, outside, in transition or in a halfcourt set —makes Syracuse look incredibly formidable for the postseason.‘We’re not necessarily a team that’s going to try and come down and shoot majority 3s,’ Joseph said. ‘We’re going to try and get the ball inside and mix it up. We just take what the defense gives us.’Mark Cooper is the sports editor for The Daily Orange, where his column appears occasionally. He can be reached at [email protected] on Twitter at @mark_cooperjr.  Published on February 12, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Mark: [email protected] | @mark_cooperjrcenter_img Commentslast_img read more