Syracuse entered the game the #6 team in the country, and designs on another deep tourney run. UConn was unranked, unable to play in the postseason because of probation. But when two old conference foes clash, none of that matters. The Orange (20-4, 8-3) was upset 66-58 by the Huskies (17-6, 7-4) in Hartford, the final time these two would tangle as Big East rivals.
The first half was neck and neck until UConn’s Ryan Boatright hit a buzzer-beater three. That’s where the momentum surged for the Huskies, and although Syracuse was able to chip away throughout the early stages of the second half, it wasn’t enough.
Each Omar Calhoun three-pointer dig SU’s hole deeper. But as the game progressed and UConn’s lead grew larger, Orange fans wondered why James Southerland was still on the floor. Bug Game James was a turnstile, playing lethargic defense and allowing wide open shots, and good looks at three pointers for UConn.
Southerland’s defense was iffy down the stretch, and he was also the center of a postgame controversy that unfolded between Jim Boeheim and ESPN’s Andy Katz. While Southerland’s suspension was the cause of the friction, his return meant a pair of open treys that extended the UConn lead. SU instead could’ve used the services of Jerami Grant, who played a strong defensive game. Grant had nine rebounds and two steals.
Perhaps the biggest problem for Syracuse was decision making. The Orange can shoot. C.J. Fair, Michael Carter-Williams, Brandon Triche, and Southerland are all capable of knocking down shots. But Syracuse was an abysmal 4-for-23 from deep. SU’s best way to work on a comeback was to drive to the hoop, since four of UConn’s starters finished with at least three fouls.
Triche continues to struggle from deep. He was 0-for-7 on Wednesday, but there were others who couldnt hit. MCW and Trevor Cooney were both 0-for-3 from the arc.
In nonconference play, MCW was touted as one of the nation’s best point guards. But he’s leveled off lately. He turned the ball over four times, and didnt drive the hole enough to create offense.
Boeheim was aggravated at Katz after the game, but he could’ve easily just been frustrated by his team’s effort on this night.
Posted: Austin Pollack