Syracuse advances to quarterfinals of ACC tournament with 83-64 victory over North Carolina

first_imgAlexis Peterson’s 29 points led sixth-seeded Syracuse (21-9, 11-5 Atlantic Coast) to an 83-64 victory over North Carolina Thursday night at the HTC Center in Conway, South Carolina. With the ACC Tournament second round win, the Orange will advance to face third-seeded Duke on Friday at 8 p.m.Eleven 3-pointers, 32 points in the paint and 27 points off turnovers helped Syracuse spring out to a 30-23 lead. By the end of the third quarter, SU commanded a 25-point advantage. The Orange’s 32 second-chance points is its highest total since Dec. 4 against Central Connecticut State, a 21-game span.“We had to rebound the ball,” SU head coach Quentin Hillsman said. “We really did a good job of crashing the boards and getting opportunities, second-chance opportunities and we were really aggressive.”Peterson, who was named this week the ACC Player of the Year, added six assists and grabbed seven rebounds. Redshirt senior guard Brittney Sykes scored 16 points and had 12 rebounds while senior center Briana Day scored 11 points and had a game-high 15 boards. Senior forward Isabella Slim scored nine points on 3-of-7 from the floor, the most she has scored since Jan. 8.Tip between the Orange and Blue Devils is set for Friday at 8 p.m. On Feb. 10, then-No. 14 Blue Devils handed Syracuse a 72-55 loss in Durham. In that meeting, Peterson and Sykes were held to a combined 30 points. SU committed 15 turnovers, shot only 25.4 percent from the field and got out-rebounded by nine. Duke’s 44 paint points were the most SU has allowed since December 2015.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“They attacked us in transition and when you don’t score, you can’t press, and that was big for us because we didn’t make enough shots,” Hillsman said. “We couldn’t get into our pressure. Hopefully we can get some shots to go in early and be able to press them.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 2, 2017 at 11:37 pm Contact Matthew: | @MatthewGut21last_img read more

How an old football drill has boosted Syracuse tennis

first_img Published on April 3, 2018 at 11:57 pm Contact KJ: | @KJEdelman Facebook Twitter Google+ On a windy day in Boca Raton, Florida last month, Syracuse head coach Younes Limam had a feeling the weather conditions would create trouble for his team. So, before SU’s matchup against Florida Atlantic on March 13, Limam told his players to “trust their feet, move their feet,” because wind makes the balls move in funky directions.Will Hicks, SU’s assistant athletics director for athletic performance, was there listening to Limam. That’s when he had an idea.As Limam spoke, Hicks thought back to a drill he utilized with the SU football team in the early 2000s. The exercise begins with Hicks dropping two tennis balls in front of him. The players then grab the balls, one in each hand, before they bounce on the ground twice. Prior to the match, the players gathered to try it out. Hicks believed that the drill could guide the Orange tennis team to a win, even in unfavorable conditions. And it did.Hicks’ ball-dropping drill is a mix of increasing reaction time while expanding movement and focus. It’s become central to the pre-game ritual for No. 25 Syracuse (14-3, 6-3 Atlantic Coast). Since its introduction to the team’s weekly routine three weeks ago, the Orange has gone 5-1, including wins against No. 44 Clemson, No. 48 Louisville and No. 3 Georgia Tech.“When you’re moving during the drill you got your juice,” Hicks said, “and it makes everything you do much better.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThere are two parts to the exercise. The first component focuses on the team as a whole, while the second is more individualistic. Players gather in a circle, either in the middle of Manley Field House or on center court before the match. Hicks tells the team to “get rowdy.” Players clap their hands and yell at one another. It’s a boost for the team, Hicks said, and gets everybody involved.One player gets singled out, and she must line up parallel to Hicks. While the rest of the team cheers on, Hicks yells out a number, usually one to four, to signify the number of claps the player must enact before grabbing the balls. A couple of seconds later, he drops two tennis balls in front of the participant. The goal is for the player to grab the balls one-handed — without letting them bounce twice. Whether they catch the balls or mistime their grab, the partaker must run to the back of the circle and keep their feet moving.“The energy is infectious,” Hicks said.Daily Orange File PhotoBefore its place in women’s tennis, Hicks carried out similar “get off” drills for defensive linemen on the football team. Linemen would get in a stance and attempt to catch a tennis ball that was dropped by Hicks. He toyed with the height of the drop and how far away the player would have to be from him. One of the first participants in it was Syracuse football legend Dwight Freeney.“I’d drop it one yard away from (Freeney),” Hicks said, “and gradually get back to keep him on his feet. It’s the same type of philosophy with tennis. You see it, react to it, and get to the point where you don’t even think about it.”There are several benefits to the drill. For one, it keeps the central nervous system focused and forces a person to expect constant feet movement, Hicks said. On that same note, Limam said it can modify a player’s attitude and can keep their body from getting cold before a match. Players like sophomore Miranda Ramirez enjoy the challenge because it keeps them “mentally sharp and pumped up.”While Hicks’ job is to prepare SU tennis players for the mental and physical toll of a tennis match, his willingness to mirror his practice schedule with coaching input has helped the team tremendously, Limam said.“If you build it for success,” Hicks said, “you get more with sugar than you do with others. You get a great player.” Commentslast_img read more

British Open 2019 odds: Expert picks, favorites, best bets to win at Royal Portrush

first_imgWhile Royal Portrush will be uncharted territory for the majority of the field at the 2019 British Open, there is a strong sense of familiarity for Rory McIlroy.The four-time major champion set a course-record 61 at one of the toughest links venues — which has not held The Open since 1951 — as a 16-year-old in 2005. No real surprises here. McIlroy holds the course record at Portrush. Expectation could be an issue in his home country but he has the tools to dominate. Spieth won the Open in 2017 and was tied for the 54-hole lead 12 months ago before falling away. He hasn’t won since his Birkdale triumph but seems to thrive in UK conditions. And Koepka because, well, it’s Koepka.Outside bet: Adam ScottScott, like Spieth, is very much at home at the Open. Four consecutive top-10 finishes from 2012-2015 – he should have claimed the Claret Jug in 2012 but bogeyed the last four holes to finish second to Ernie Els by a shot – show a pedigree on this type of layout. The swing has never been a problem and his putting is, very belatedly, not proving a hindrance. A lot has changed in the 14 years since but McIlroy’s knowledge of Portrush, coupled with the fervent backing of a partisan home crowd in Northern Ireland, should aid his cause.MORE: Watch the British Open live with fuboTV (7-day free trial)But there is a star-studded cast — led by world No. 1 and four-time major victor Brooks Koepka — who will all be desperate to deny McIlroy a dream homecoming.Here, three Omnisport writers pick out their players to watch in the battle for the Claret Jug.Watch @McilroyRory relive his incredible 61 a Royal Portrush when he was just 16 To watch the full feature follow the link— The Open (@TheOpen) June 2, 2019British Open 2019 odds, favoritesThe golfers with the four best odds are among the top five in the World Golf Rankings, and all 11 who check in at +2500 or better are ranked in the top 20. McIlroy’s longstanding relationship with Royal Portrush and overall familiarity with links-style golf make him an early favorite, while Koepka and Johnson have generally struggled more with British Open courses compared to the other majors. — Jacob JanowerGolferOddsBrooks Koepka+750Rory McIlroy+800Dustin Johnson+1200Tiger Woods+1200Jon Rahm+1400Justin Rose+1400Francesco Molinari+2000Jordan Spieth+2000Xander Schauffele+2200Rickie Fowler+2500Tommy Fleetwood+2500(Odds via Bovada)Expert picks to win the Open ChampionshipPETER HANSONMy favorite: Brooks KoepkaKoepka’s phenomenal record in major tournaments includes a couple of top-10 placings at The Open. A year ago, Koepka was a distant 39th at Carnoustie, but that was sandwiched by triumphs at the U.S. Open and US PGA Championship. He secured another PGA title in May, and only a wonderful four days from Gary Woodland denied him a third consecutive U.S. success. Koepka often feels he does not receive the acclaim he deserves but the fact the attention will be focused on McIlroy should play into his hands at Portrush.Likely challengers: Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele and Tommy FleetwoodRahm’s three attempts to win The Open have hardly been a success story – a tie for 44th two years ago his best result. But the passionate Spaniard has two top-10 major finishes in 2019 and won the Irish Open this month, so will be feeling confident at Portrush. For a while now it has appeared a matter of when not if Schauffele becomes a major champion. Respective finishes of second and third at the Masters and U.S. Open further enhanced his major pedigree and he proved his ability to contend on tricky Open courses when ending as runner-up at Carnoustie a year ago. Fleetwood’s form in recent months has been patchy, but the amiable Englishman has the sort of clutch-scoring ability that should suit Portrush.Outside bet: Graeme McDowellThe halcyon days of winning the U.S. Open in 2010 may seem like a distant memory for the former world number four, who last year was ranked as low as 239. But ‘G Mac’ has shown signs of improvements this year, recording top-10 finishes at the Texas Open and Canadian Open, while he flirted with contention at last month’s U.S. Open before finishing 16th. And do not discount the power of local knowledge. While the majority of the focus will undoubtedly fall McIlroy’s way, Portrush native McDowell will be desperate to impress in front of home support.RUSSELL GREAVESMy favorite: Francesco MolinariWhen Molinari lifted the Claret Jug in 2018, he did so to little fanfare. On that Sunday at Carnoustie, his name was not the most illustrious of the contenders. Rory McIlroy was up there, as was Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and, of course, Tiger Woods. What separated this quiet, unassuming Italian from that star-studded field was his immense calmness under pressure. He went bogey-free in a two-under par 69 in tricky conditions that will likely be replicated at Portrush. When the going gets tough, this guy will get going.Likely challengers: Koepka, Spieth and FleetwoodBecause since when does Koepka not challenge at a major? It is what he does. Time and time again. How Spieth would yearn for that kind of consistency now, but he did make a decent fist of retaining his title last year and it can never be declared a surprise to see him in the mix. Fleetwood was the focus of much of the pre-tournament attention when Spieth triumphed, with Royal Birkdale his home course. He may not have the same intimate knowledge of this track, but how poetic it would be to see the Claret Jug passed from one half of the Ryder Cup “Moliwood” partnership to the other.Outside bet: Matt KucharKuchar came mighty close to glory two years ago, but Spieth’s stunning revival from his 13th-hole woes kept his compatriot at arm’s length. Back then, Spieth said Kuchar would win a major one day. This could be his year.Links golf at its finest – Royal Portrush Who will overcome the elements next month?— The Open (@TheOpen) June 28, 2019JON FISHERMy favorite: FleetwoodFleetwood is without a win in 2019 but has recorded four top-10 finishes. He is likely to enjoy the conditions at Portrush. The links course on the upper tip of Northern Ireland is defended primarily by the wind which could play into the hands of a man brought up on the blowy north west coast of England. Fleetwood is overdue a major breakthrough and will enjoy considerable support.Likely challengers: McIlroy, Koepka and Spiethlast_img read more