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Nearing end of Syracuse career, Frank Howard wants to keep shooting

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 23, 2019 at 10:26 pm Contact Matthew: mguti100@syr.edu | @MatthewGut21 To get going, Frank Howard isn’t looking for an early 3-pointer or long jumper. He doesn’t necessarily want to be the spark to the Syracuse offense. He’s not discouraged by a slew of missed shots in recent games or that junior guard Tyus Battle has effectively taken over point guard duties, even when he’s on the floor. None of that.Though he established himself as Syracuse’s starting point guard as a sophomore, Howard lost the job to graduate transfer John Gillon in 2017. As a junior last year, Howard became the floor general he knew Syracuse needed him to be. This season, a preseason injury set him back, and he hasn’t appeared to fully recover since.Syracuse’s (18-9, 9-5 Atlantic Coast) 75-65 loss to No. 1 Duke (24-3, 12-2) in front of a sold-out crowd at the Carrier Dome represented the latest version of Howard. Over the past two seasons, he’s largely avoided turning the ball over. Albeit a costly one, he had only one turnover against the Blue Devils in 34 minutes. He’s averaging eight points and 2.8 assists per game, significantly down from last year (14.4 points, 4.7 assists). Over his last two games, he’s 3-of-13 from the field. He’s followed up an explosion at North Carolina State 10 days ago with back-to-back games in which he’s struggled to find the kind of rhythm he found on a regular basis last season.“Not necessarily a jumper,” Howard said when asked when he needs to find a groove. “That’s just how it’s been. It’s not like I’m focusing on getting a jumper to go. I want to be aggressive. I’ve been aggressive and been in that mindset. I got some good looks tonight off some great rebounds by Marek (Dolezaj) and Paschal (Chukwu).”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAlexandra Moreo | Senior Staff PhotographerWhen Howard scores and keeps turnovers down, he and the SU offense thrive. But he’s been inconsistent in recent weeks, trying to initiate the Syracuse offense with high-ball screens and passes to the wings.He didn’t score against Florida State and went 1-of-10 with three points against Boston College. Then dropped 21 at the Wolfpack. He knocked down a pair of 3-pointers and finished with 10 points Saturday, though he didn’t shoot well in the second half.Howard will not drop 20 points on a nightly basis anymore. His plan A is to pass or try to hit open shots and attack when he can, although he’s not always been able to create for himself off the dribble. He said his confidence hasn’t wavered and he won’t hesitate to create — and take — shots, regardless of his shooting percentage on a given night.Early against Duke, Howard stepped into a pair of jumpers. The first was a 3-pointer from the right wing to kick off SU’s scoring. The Carrier Dome rocked when he drilled the 3, the result of an offensive rebound. Later, Howard knocked down a long jumper from the left wing area, just inside the 3-point line. Duke’s guards were switching on SU screens at first, freeing up Howard.“I think they didn’t like that,” Howard said. “They started downing. They tried to keep me from the foul line, keep the ball out of our hands in that area.”The subtle Duke defensive tweak slowed an SU offense that bounded to an early lead. Howard said he’ll keep shooting, keep looking to create for others, and keep looking for steals atop the 2-3 zone. He knows the clock is ticking, with his Syracuse career winding down in the coming weeks. So, he’ll look to make the best of it.center_img Commentslast_img

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