In front of over 28,000 fans in the Carrier Dome, Syracuse lost its second straight in one of the worst performances of the season for the Orange. SU was in it for most of the game and even took the lead with under nine minutes to play, but down the stretch the Orange couldn’t get anything to go its way and the Panthers made Orange fans reconsider just how good their team is. It wasn’t the bounce back win everyone had hoped it would be, and the largest on-campus crowd of the season went home unhappy.
Here are three takeaways from Syracuse’s loss to Pitt.
Déjà Vu On The Glass
The first half went about as badly as it could have gone for the Orange. Not in the sense that Syracuse was down big, but in the sense that it looked exactly like Wednesday’s first half. SU hit the floor running and jumped out to a quick 10-2 lead four minutes into the game, but it was more than just an 8-point lead. The Orange was hitting shots and playing good defense. It felt like one Syracuse would run away with. Then, just like they had Wednesday, the Orangemen stopped rebounding.
Pitt went on a 17-2 run at the end of the first half and Syracuse went into the locker room down 30-28. The Panthers were ahead 21-13 in the reounding comlumn, with 10 of those 21 coming on the offensive end. It was more of the same in the second half, and the Orange ended up outrebounded 43-23.
“We haven’t done a good job,” Jim Boeheim said after the game. “Louisville’s the best rebounding team in the league and Pitt’s probably the next best rebounding team in the league… We stopped rebounding. These teams are better rebounding teams.”
It’s the second straight game where Pitt has outrebounded Syracuse by 20. The Panthers won the battle on the glass 42-22 in Pittsburgh earlier in the year.
Stars Go Silent
If you’ve gotten tired of blaming rebounding for Syracuse losses, feel free to point the finger at Syracuse’s terrible shooting for this one. The Orange’s “Big Three” shooters (Trevor Cooney, Michael Gbinije and Malachi Richardson) combined for 19 points on 6-29 shooting. Both Richardson and Cooney made only one shot from the field.
“Offensively we really didn’t have anything to go off of; any rhythm, so to speak,” said Gbinije. “They made some plays down the stretch and offensively we just gave up too many opportunities and couldn’t get to the basket.”
The Orange shot 30 percent in the second half to end with its second lowest point total of the year (just ahead of the 51 SU scored in another demoralizing loss to Miami).
“We have to make some shots for us to be sucessful,” Boeheim said. “We have to have at least two or three guys to make shots.”
On Saturday, Syracuse only had one.
Boeheim Praises Lydon; Calls Out Roberson
Maybe it wasn’t “praise,” but Tyler Lydon got about as close to praise as you’re going to get from Jim Boeheim, and deservedly so. Lydon led the Orange with 21 points on 8-12 shooting, and even managed a block and a pair of steals. He didn’t do much to help the rebounding cause with only one board, but it was obvious Lydon was the reason Syracuse was in striking distance for as long as it was.
“He kept us in there tonight,” Boeheim said. “He’s been great all year.”
What was much more interesting, however, was Boeheim’s mini-rant on Tyler Roberson, who didn’t score and pulled down only four rebounds.
“If I had anybody else he wouldn’t play a minute,” Boeheim said. “You watched the game. I’m not going to describe what he did out there today… He’s getting the same opportuinites Tyler Lydon’s getting, and you can’t get a point? You can’t have a junior be in the program — and play all the time — and when you get to your junior year not score. We can’t win that way.”
This toward the only consistent rebounder Syracuse has had throughout the season, the same player who basically won the Orange a game in Cameron Indoor. It’ll be interesting to see how much Roberson plays next week (he got 25 minutes Saturday) and how he responds to the criticism.
Syracuse now hits the road to play NC State next Saturday. The Wolfpack is 4-10 in the ACC but has won two of its last three (over Wake Forest and Clemson).
Posted: Nathan Dickinson