Okay, Syracuse fans. Now is the time to panic.
I am an optimist. A couple decades as a Cubs fan has taught me how to stay positive through the worst of times, but Syracuse’s game against St. John’s Wednesday tested my endurance. I tried very, very hard to find a positive to take away from Syracuse’s 93-60 loss to St. John’s in the Carrier Dome, but there’s no way to spin it. This team is not as good as we all thought it was, at least not through the first half of the season. Now, with a grueling ACC schedule awaiting, the chances of Syracuse making the NCAA Tournament seem very slim.
Wednesday’s game was hard to watch from start to finish. St. John’s went on a 14-0 run eight minutes into the game to take the lead and never gave it back. Syracuse would only be able to get back within single-digits three times for the remainder of the game, while St. John’s went on a 15-0 run and a separate 13-0 run in the second half and led by as much as 37. Three different times the Orange went at least four minutes without scoring a point. Syracuse shot 33 percent and went 4-24 from behind the arc, while St. John’s shot 53 percent and was 12-29 from long range.
The list of individual shortcomings is almost too long to go into, but we’ll try anyway. Andrew White scored two points in 37 minutes on the floor. Frank Howard scored four on 2-9 shooting. The two each had four turnovers and only two assists. Seven different Orangemen shot at least one three and didn’t make any. Five had at least three fouls. Taurean Thompson, whose 10 points on 4-6 shooting was actually a bright spot, fouled out after 19 minutes on the court. That’s just on offense.
Defensively, I don’t know if words can describe how unexpectedly bad the Orange played. And yes, it was unexpected; not even the Wisconsin game could prepare you for this. St. John’s did whatever it wanted with the ball. You want the ball inside? Sure, St. John’s got 32 points in the paint. You want open threes? Easy; the Red Storm hit 12 of them. It wasn’t just working for St. John’s, it looked easy.
“This game is all on me,” said Jim Boeheim after the game. “I didn’t get them ready to do what they needed to do.”
“We weren’t paying too much attention to detail,” Tyler Lydon added. “We weren’t able to execute… I’ve got to start taling to the guys and get everyone together and get us back on track.”
I wish I had more quotes for you, but nobody knew what to say. Boeheim, Lydon, or even the press. There weren’t many questions asked, and the answers were short and quiet. Nobody could make sense of what had just happened, including the 41-year veteran head coach.
“I have to coach better,” said Boeheim. “We have to play a lot better. We’ve got a lot of games left and a lot of very difficult games left and the way we’re playing right now we can’t win many of those games.”
Posted: Nathan Dickinson