William and Mary screens the zone of Syracuse
One aspect of offense that is often lost in playing against a zone is the use of the screen. When used properly, the screen can still be effective against a zone defense.
W&M showed they were committed to screening the zone against Syracuse to find some openings. They screened in several different ways and was often effective in getting open looks.
Screening the top
Nearly every possession featured at least one screen of the top two men on the zone. This attempted to get open lanes for penetration, passing or shooting.
Even though the defensive players do not have specific individual assignments, they can still be screened. Watch as Scoop Jardine gets screened, leading to an open jumper.
W&M sets the screen sets the high screen right at the three point line. Brandon Triche must respect the swing pass and Fab Melo needs to protect the paint, so the ball handler has a brief opening.
Although the jump shot was missed, it provided a good look for the offense and showed that screening the zone is a viable option.
Here is another clip that shows the openings screening the zone creates. Although the primary ball handler did not get an opening, the screener was open. The opposite elbow defender had to guard the wing player, so he was not able to rotate over, leaving the screened player to guard to screener.
Dion Waiters went under the screen to stay with the ball but that left the screener open for an open shot.
Screen the bottom of the zone
W&M ran a similar set to start many of their possessions, which included a screen on the top of the zone and a man running baseline. I think this was a great place to set a screen, that W&M did not exploit.
W&M could screen the outside defender and give the baseline player either a corner three or a wing three, depending on the angle the screen is set. However, the potential screener has been too concerned with getting the ball themselves, instead of setting the screen.
I think this would be a nice halftime adjustment for W&M, as the bottom players of Syracuse have a tendency to cheat up and could be screened. Look for it in the second half.