Johnson, Patterson provide reliable options off bench in Syracuse loss

first_img Published on February 21, 2015 at 4:41 pm Contact Phil: [email protected] | @PhilDAbb Eighteen days after making a promise not to shoot 3s, Ron Patterson broke it.He strayed from his vow last week too, but this one was late in the shot clock so he was spared from the wrath of Jim Boeheim.The only reaction Boeheim gave was a raising of his eyebrows when the shot went in.“I thought both Ronnie and B.J. (Johnson) finally made some shots, which is why we were in the game,” Syracuse head coach Boeheim said. “They haven’t been doing that and that was big for those guys to make those shots.”Often a liability, the Orange’s bench was instead a sparkplug Saturday afternoon. Patterson and Johnson combined for 20 points, SU’s largest bench contribution since Dec. 22, on a combined 7-of-10 shooting.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textTheir efforts ultimately weren’t enough to push Syracuse (17-10, 8-6 Atlantic Coast) past Pittsburgh (18-10, 7-7) in its 65-61 loss in the Carrier Dome, but managed to help keep the Orange afloat on a day when the starters — particularly guards Trevor Cooney and Kaleb Joseph — underperformed.“They were able to come in and pick up on the scoring for them,” forward Tyler Roberson said. “You need that when guys aren’t playing well.”An ineffective Joseph, also 0-for-5 from the field, played just 16 minutes. Cooney, who shot 0-for-5 for the game, left the floor briefly due to his strained back. Roberson also left the floor due to injury, having a laceration above his eye treated.The blend of those circumstances opened the door for Patterson and Johnson to get more run than usual, and they made the most of it.Johnson drove along the baseline and found Patterson for a layup to knot the score at 17, and a minute and a half after that Michael Gbinije hit Patterson for a reverse layup. The guard connected on his 3 — which bumped his 3-point shooting percentage up to a measly 18 percent on the year — to bring SU within five points at the 13:31 point of the second half, and added a baseline jumper off the dribble for his fourth field goal.Johnson hit a 3 to cut Pittsburgh’s lead to 53-45 with 7:44 left, then connected on one the next trip down to make it a five-point game.“They overcommitted to Rak, so it was a great kickout and a pretty wide-open shot,” Johnson said. “Anytime you come off the bench and provide any kind of spark, whether it’s a blocked shot or steal or making shots, it’s always good for us.“I thought I needed to step up and I did a pretty decent job of that.”He did just that when, with a minute left and the Panthers leading 61-57, Johnson drilled a 3 from the corner right in front of the SU bench — where Cooney and Joseph were located, and Patterson and Johnson weren’t.Syracuse wouldn’t draw any closer than that one point the rest of the way, but wouldn’t have been that close without its reserves.“I’m happy that they stepped up,” Gbinije said. “We’re a better team that way. We needed a little bit more, but maybe that could carry over to our next game.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more