Leadership Call

Leadership Call

Syracuse's sophomore guard has had a positive effect during the season, but has also offered the opposite. He speaks with CuseNation.com inside.

p>The Syracuse Orange men's basketball team has had their share of mishaps in recent days against in-conference foes in the Big East.

Although the Orange have been able to recover when needed most to prevent a loss.

Then came the contest with the Villanova Wildcats.

Despite having the same amount of offensive rebounds with Villanova (18), Syracuse allowed second-chance opportunities at the most inopportune times, none more than the second three-point attempt given up which tied the match at 61, sending it to overtime.  

"We didn't want 'em to shoot a three," said sophomore guard Michael Carter-Williams. "We wanted to, we were gonna foul but then we made 'em take a tough shot and then we didn't get that defensive rebound, which we weren't doing all game. So they got a good a good shot. I didn't wanna foul so I didn't put a high hand up and he kinda leaned into me. So I mean it was a tough shot. He made a good shot." last play, allowing 2nd thing, bring me into: "We didn't want 'em to shoot a three. We wanted to, we were gonna foul but then we made 'em take a tough shot and then we didn't get that defensive rebound, which we weren't doing all game. So they got a good a good shot. I didn't wanna foul so I didn't put a high hand up and he kinda leaned into me. So I mean it was a tough shot. He made a good shot."

"It's very frustrating," Carter-Williams added. "I think that if I could go back and change it all I would. But that's just how the game is. I didn't come up and get the win for my team at the end. All around we just did not have a good game."

As a whole, the Orange turned the ball over seven times versus the Wildcats. Carter-Williams had five of the seven turnovers.

He has turned the ball over at least three times in 16 of the team's 20 match-ups.

In past matches, Carter-Williams has been able to overcome his mishaps with control of the team's possessions by connecting from the free throw line. But against Villanova, this way of trying to white out his previous debacles did not work. Carter-Williams made a mere three of his seven attempts from the charity stripe in the second half.

In the extra period, he missed what would have been the game-tying free throw, down 66-65, making two of four in the additional five minutes of the match.

"I missed that big one-and-one," Carter-Williams remarked. "I'm still confident in my free throws. I just gotta step to the line and make 'em both just for next game. And just focus on what we gotta do to beat Pittsburgh."

Before taking on the Pittsburgh Panthers, Carter-Williams turned his focus to what Villanova did right to defeat Syracuse. "They were hustling more." Carter-Williams stated. "They won all the loose balls. They, I guess, out-rebounded us by like 15. So, just they out-hustled us and they played harder than us and they executed down the stretch."

Carter-Williams assists per game have dropped from 10 in non-conference games to 7 inside the Big East Conference. He has mentioned before that senior forward James Southerland, who continues to sit out, would probably account for the difference.

Addressing if the loss of Southerland is felt more in games like that versus Villanova when Syracuse encounters foul trouble, Carter-Williams said, "Yeah I think so, but I still think we shoulda won with the guys we have. We have great players on this team. Of course James woulda helped us. He woulda spread out the floor. He probably woulda got some threes off for us. But, like I said, the guys on the team are great and I think we can beat them again. I think they caught us on a real bad night."

Looking to the future, Carter-Williams offering leadership to Syracuse cannot come at a better time, as he will be needed more and more as the Orange edge closer to the Big East Tournament and a place in the NCAA Tournament.

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