Ben Williams has career-worst day at the X in No. 6 Syracuse’s 12-11 overtime victory over No. 11 Duke

first_img Published on March 25, 2017 at 6:12 pm Contact Matthew: [email protected] | @MatthewGut21 Up one goal in the fourth quarter, Syracuse took out one of the best faceoff specialists in the country.Ben Williams, a Preseason All-ACC honoree and two-time Tewaarton Award Nominee, had won only 4-of-17 faceoffs, prompting SU’s coaching staff to substitute in freshman Dan Varello. Duke FOGO Kyle Rowe, who dominated Williams last March by winning nearly 60 percent of faceoffs in an overtime win, gave the Blue Devils’ ninth-ranked offense time to work in its 12-11 loss Saturday afternoon inside the Carrier Dome. Duke commanded possession until Williams left the game, allowing Justin Guterding and Jack Bruckner to combine for nine points.Varello vacuumed the X in the fourth quarter and overtime, going 6-of-8 on the faceoff — including the last one that set up freshman Jamie Trimboli’s game-winner 40 seconds into the sudden death period. If not for Varello, SU may not have won its fourth consecutive game in its sixth straight one-goal bout. Yet in the 2016 ACC tournament championship rematch, No. 6 Syracuse’s (6-1, 2-0 Atlantic Coast) sure-handed FOGO posted a career-worst 4-of-18 mark against a No. 11 Duke (7-3, 0-1) team that had won five straight.“We didn’t give Ben a lot of help on the faceoffs, so I thought our wings did a much better job in the second half,” SU head coach John Desko said. “It was a nice spark Danny (Varello) gave us to help us get some of those possessions that we didn’t have in the first half.”Williams was not made available for post game interviews.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textDuke’s top threat, Guterding, scored his first goal of the game shortly after a won faceoff in the second quarter. Less than a minute later, after Rowe’s second straight faceoff win over Williams, Guterding ran behind the cage and fed Bruckner to give Duke its first lead of the game.The ensuing faceoff resulted in a Williams violation, giving the Blue Devils another long possession. Brad Smith, after nearly three minutes of Duke possession, scored the Blue Devils’ third unanswered goal by five-holing SU goalie Evan Molloy. It gave Duke a 6-4 lead and prompted Desko to call timeout.By halftime, Williams had won just 2-of-13 faceoffs against Rowe.“Rowe came in and did something that’s really hard to do,” Duke head coach John Danowski said. “While he didn’t win the last faceoff in overtime and didn’t pick up the ground ball, that’s not why we lost. If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have been competitive today.”To start the third quarter, Williams won the faceoff and senior midfielder Sergio Salcido wound up from 15 yards out to bounce in his eighth goal of the season, evening the score at six. But that was one of few bright spots in his day. After Williams lost the first faceoff of the fourth, resulting in a Bruckner score eight seconds later, Varello took over at the X. On SU’s next play, Varello won the faceoff and sophomore attack Nate Solomon scored off of a Nick Mariano feed.Before winning the last faceoff in overtime last week at Johns Hopkins, Williams lost 8-of-10. As a sophomore, he posted a 67.4 success rate at the X, the nation’s second-highest mark. Last year, his 62.2-percent mark finished 10th. This season, his percentage is 53.5 — on pace for a career-worst at Syracuse.Saturday, Rowe kept Duke in the game by winning faceoffs and pushing transition. He also helped erase Duke’s 15 turnovers, five of which came in Duke’s last six possessions in its scoreless third quarter. Rowe assisted on a fourth-quarter transition score to Bruckner, pulling Duke within one.“Rowe was tremendous today,” Desko said. “He really does a great job getting the ball out to himself. That’s what makes him dangerous … he was getting on the ball really quick.“Fortunately we had the ball at the end.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more