Frank Howard’s offensive struggles continue in Syracuse’s 78-71 loss to Georgetown

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on December 17, 2016 at 4:22 pm Contact Matt: [email protected] | @matt_schneidman After Frank Howard telegraphed a bounce pass right into the hands of Georgetown’s Tre Campbell, Jim Boeheim summoned the sophomore to his side.“Horrible. Horrible. Horrible,” the head coach said to his point guard.The early giveaway foreshadowed a less than spectacular day for Howard, who committed a career-high six turnovers as his offensive woes carried over into a third straight game. Syracuse’s starting point guard has now scored a meager 13 points in his last three contests, and Howard has hit only two of his last 20 shots after a 2-of-6 mark from the field in Syracuse’s (6-4) 78-71 loss to Georgetown (7-4) in the Carrier Dome on Saturday afternoon.“I don’t have any options,” Boeheim said. “He’s got to play better.”Howard has started every game this season and Saturday was the first time fellow point guard John Gillon joined him in the first five, as Tyus Battle works his way back from a left foot injury. While Gillon only turned the ball over once against the Hoyas, Howard gave it away far more frequently.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMost of his giveaways weren’t even 50-50 balls, rather passes right into the hands of a defender. Two of his first-half bounce passes intended for cutters to the hoop instead found a black jersey, jumpstarting a Hoyas transition game that trumped the Orange’s. From Howard’s perspective, he made his decisions too obvious.“I just wasn’t going downhill, so I mean everybody knew I was going to pass,” Howard said. “Side-to-side, not being aggressive. It’s kind of almost giving away the pass. It was just on me … just wasn’t making the right play.”After yet another sloppy turnover in the second half, Boeheim sided with the banged-up Battle off the bench with just over 14 minutes remaining in the game and Syracuse needing a spark. The Orange didn’t get it from the guard spot, leaving the head coach lamenting on the play of his backcourt following arguably SU’s worst loss of the season.Howard’s offseason improvement may be the biggest of anyone on the team. Boeheim even said before the season it was the most significant of any player he’s ever coached. But aside from 11 assists that saved an 0-for-5 shooting day against Boston University (Howard also went 0-for-2 from beyond the arc against the Terriers), the point guard’s production, for an offense that’s already struggling, has regressed of late.“Just tell him to keep his head up and just not worry about everybody just being in his ear and judging him,” Gillon said. “It’s tough…He’s 19 years old, so it has to be tough when you’re in a place like this where the media is so heavy, where the coach is demanding…it’s just tough to have all that on your mind.”Howard has posted the three highest single-game assist totals in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season. Coming into Saturday’s game, the sophomore ranked 10th in the country in assists per game (6.8) despite playing fewer minutes than anyone in the top 22 in the category. In Syracuse’s eight games prior to facing Georgetown, Howard never turned the ball over more than twice in a single game. His previous high for giveaways was three, in the season opener against Colgate.Saturday, though, Georgetown made it look easy.“If he doesn’t play better, we’re not gonna win,” Boeheim said. “That’s the bottom line.” Commentslast_img

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