Are these games telling us anything about the Orange? SU will obviously not be in the tourney, but would like to show the world it’s better than its record indicates. But in what was by far the least exciting of the two team’s meetings since become ACC rivals, the Blue Devils blew out the Orange 73-54.
The game started sloppy for both teams. At the under-12 TV timeout, Duke already had seven turnovers and Syracuse had six. The hectic play worked to the Orange’s advantage, as it was able to stay within striking distance for the majority of the game and even led at parts of the first half. Despite dismal shooting from Syracuse, Duke led by only nine points (34-25) at the half.
The second half was a different story. Duke started taking advantage of Syracuse turnovers and never led by less than seven. The dagger for the Orange was the fouling out of star center Rakeem Christmas, who managed to pick up three fouls in just over 10 minutes in the second half. With Christmas out, all hope was lost. Duke cruised for the rest of the game.
Duke shockingly gave the ball away more often than the Orange, with 17 turnovers compared to Syracuse’s 15. The real difference was in shooting. Syracuse shot just 19 for 62 from the field (30.6%) and 3 of 20 from long range. Kaleb Joseph was the only starter who didn’t score in double digits; he was held scoreless in 17 minutes on the floor.
Justice Winslow led the Blue Devils with 23 points, while grabbing 10 rebounds as well. Jahlil Okafor outplayed Christmas for the second straight meeting between the two, putting up 13 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.
The next game for the Orange is against Virginia. It’s the last home game of the year for the team and Senior Night for Rakeem Christmas. Even though the Orange has nothing to play for, hopefully SU shows strong until the end of the year. Unlike this game.
Posted: Nathan Dickinson