first_imgCHICAGO — Somehow, Virginia guard London Perrantes, who came into last Sunday shooting 48 percent from 3-point range, had ample space to hit five first-half long balls to open up a 14-point halftime lead.The Cavaliers’ intricate ball movement inside and around the zone often ended with the ball in Perrantes’ hands and Syracuse’s guards scrambling to get a hand in his face as the ball soared toward the hoop straight-on, inevitably going in.“Especially late in the clock with the way that Perrantes was shooting,” assistant coach Gerry McNamara said after the game, “it’s difficult to sit back and watch a team so efficient hitting them 5, 6 feet behind the line.”Syracuse will face a similar streaky 3-point-shooting point guard on one of the most efficient offensive teams in the country when it takes on North Carolina on Saturday. Marcus Paige spearheads an attack for the No. 1 seed Tar Heels (32-6, 14-4 Atlantic Coast) that could be the second consecutive top seed to fall to 10th-seeded Syracuse (23-13, 9-9), this time with a spot in the national championship game on the line.Paige has struggled mightily against the zone this year, going a combined 2-of-13 from behind the arc in two matchups against Syracuse. It’s been the Tar Heels’ frontcourt manhandling the Orange down low, but the point guard’s recent hot streak from deep poses another dimension to an offense that hasn’t exactly blown Syracuse away in two wins.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSU chose to give Perrantes room to start the game and he missed his first two shots from atop the key. But the next five in the first half, with one dropped in from the corner, showed that a zone exploited by an effective high-low attack (that UNC also poses) can be further exploited by a shooter stranded atop the key that stays open after the zone collapses in the paint.MORE COVERAGE3 things Roy Williams said at his pre-Final Four press conference3 things Jim Boeheim said at his pre-Final Four press conferenceSyracuse basketball stat breakdown: Comparing the 2003 national champions to this year’s teamSyracuse basketball opponent preview: What to know about North Carolina2016 NCAA Tournament: Beat writers predict Syracuse basketball’s Final Four matchup with North CarolinaRevisit Syracuse’s Final Four runs under Jim Boeheim Published on April 1, 2016 at 1:21 am Contact Matt: [email protected] | @matt_schneidman Related Stories Blum: Jim Boeheim’s harsh criticism of players pays off in the NCAA TournamentDougherty: If nothing else, the Syracuse players deserve thisSyracuse basketball stat breakdown: Comparing the 2003 national champions to this year’s team Facebook Twitter Google+ “At first in the game, we were going to stay back a little bit,” assistant coach Mike Hopkins said. “Then (head coach Jim Boeheim) said after he made one or two we were going to start pushing up but after we pushed up he was getting closer and closer to half court.”In North Carolina’s four NCAA Tournament wins, Paige has led the team in 3-pointers made in each. Against Florida Gulf Coast, all three of his field goals came from behind the arc. In a win against Providence, two of his four made shots came from deep. His breakout game was against Indiana, when he nailed 6-of-9 from behind the arc and led UNC with 21 points. And in an Elite Eight win against Notre Dame, Paige hit another pair of long balls.He likely won’t lead the team in scoring as frontcourt-heavy North Carolina relies on Brice Johnson and a combination of Justin Jackson, Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks to do that. But Perrantes wasn’t a likely candidate to lead Virginia in scoring either and despite only one made 3 in the second half, his 18 points did just that.The key to shutting down Perrantes en route to Syracuse’s furious comeback, Frank Howard said, was making him put the ball on the ground. He, Trevor Cooney and Michael Gbinije closed out quicker outside the key and forced Perrantes to distribute or attack the lane, which he did unsuccessfully.Against Paige, especially if SU hones in on the frontcourt that’s torn it apart twice in 2016, the Orange could be stretched out again by another point guard who gets hot at just the right time. Commentslast_img

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