A season-high 19 turnovers coupled with freshman mistakes spelled doom for the Syracuse Orange in its matchup with the Michigan Wolverines in the ACC/B1G Challenge, Tuesday.
While the Orange had multiple chances to win the game late, the spotty play of freshman point guard Kaleb Joseph and freshman forward Chris McCullough should have Orange fans a bit worried moving forward.
McCullough, in foul trouble all night long, struggled to score against the physical Wolverines interior, but he turned it on late to help Syracuse tie the game with under a minute to go. As McCullough struggled to get going Joseph struggled to maintain possession long enough for the team to get set up.
If you tuned in late and saw the final minutes then you know what kind of Joseph had. The freshman looked overmatched nearly every time down the court and rushed a lot of possessions, which isn’t something the Orange is used to coming off a year where Tyler Ennis was the calming influence.
Despite the struggles for the young guns, junior guard Trevor Cooney may have found his touch from beyond the arc. Netting a season-high 16 points, including 4-of-9 from beyond the arc. That’s great news for Syracuse moving forward. If Cooney can replicate tonight’s performance moving forward, that will do wonders for McCullough and Rakeem Christmas down low as defenders won’t be able to collapse on the big men once the ball enters the paint.
Although still a loss early in the season to a very good opponent, this game will serve as a great learning experience for Syracuse moving forward. The Orange was able to hang tough on the road with a ranked opponent. Add in the fact that Syracuse turned the ball over 19 times and STILL had a chance to win late should provide fans with hope for another NCAA Tournament run, should the Orange figure it out on a consistent basis.
Posted: Josh Carney