TCT’s Matchup of the Day features a battle at the point guard position between Syracuse freshman Tyler Ennis and Baylor’s Kenny Chery, a JUCO transfer playing his first season with the Bears. Ennis has struggled to get going this season, but turned in the best game of his brief college career against Cal yesterday, dropping 28 points on 9 of 12 shooting from the field. Chery looked great so far, playing Robin to Brady Heslip’s Batman, while averaging 12 points, and 4.7 assists. Tonight’s Top 25 tilt will hinge on point guard play, and whichever player gains the upper hand will lead his team to a W.
#11 PG Tyler Ennis – Freshman – 6’2” 180 Pounds
Stat Line: 30.3 MPG, 11.8 PPG, 4 APG, 3.7 RPG, 2.7 SPG 36.5 FG%, 42.9 3P%
A Top 50 recruit, Tyler Ennis is the only true-point guard on the Syracuse roster. Similar to Marcus Paige last season, Ennis has stepped into a starting role as a true freshman and will be forced to learn on the fly, logging major minutes and turning every game into a learning experience. Until yesterday, Ennis had done an excellent job running the offense, but left a lot to be desired as a scorer. Tuesday’s outburst is a great sign for Syracuse fans, as the Orange have been seeking a reliable scoring option to pair with the elite mid-range of CJ Fair, the perimeter shooting of Trevor Cooney, and the raw athleticism of Jerami Grant.
+ 3-Point Shooting
+ Ball Security
+ On-Ball Defense
- Interior Scoring
#1 PG Kenny Chery – Junior – 5’11” 180 Pounds
Stat Line: 30.8 MPG, 12 PPG, 4.7 APG, 2.5 RPG, 49 FG%, 26.7 3P%
The athleticism might lie in the frontcourt, but Baylor’s scoring punch resides in the backcourt, where the duo of Chery and Heslip are averaging a combined 24.3 points per game on 48.4 shooting from the floor. As a scorer, Chery is lights-out from mid-range, where the 5’11” junior is drilling 59.3 percent of his mid-range shots, tops in the Big 12. Chery uses his handle to breakdown his defender, and excels at coming off screens and draining 2-dribble pull-ups. Through the first six games of the year, Chery’s biggest weakness has been ball security, which will be the most important element of his game against the Orange’s vaunted zone.
+ Mid-Range Game
+ Offensive Efficiency
- 3-Point Shooting
- Ball Security
The key to tonight’s game is Chery’s ability to create opportunities for his teammates and take care of the rock. Despite his lack of length (especially when compared to MCW), Tyler Ennis has proved to be a force at the top of Syracuse’s zone, averaging 2.7 steals per game, and turning defense into easy points on the other end. According to KenPom, turnovers are the Bears’ major flaw, as Baylor ranks 284th in the country in turnover percentage, giving the ball up on a whopping 20.9 percent of their offensive possessions. Connecting on only 26.7 percent of his attempts from long-range, Chery is a non-factor from three, and will be forced to make good decisions with the ball in the midst of the chaos inducing zone of ‘Cuse.
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