Well, there goes everything, maybe. Last night Syracuse suffered a 79-74 loss at the hands of NC State. Elijah Hughes got hurt, Joe Girard kind of stepped up and Bourama was Bourama. Here are the takeaways from last night‚Äôs heartbreaker.
Considering the tournament implications present, this was SU‚Äôs most important game of the season. Coming into the match, the Orange were atop the Wolfpack in ACC standings. NC State was 6-6 in the ACC sitting at 6th, while SU flaunted a 7-5 conference record a step above at 5th. With the ACC being as underwhelming as it’s been, there‚Äôs a good chance it‚Äôs only a 5-bid conference rather than the usual 6 that we saw last year. So that 5th spot proves crucial, the two teams fighting for it faced off last night. With the NC State victory, the Wolfpack now tie the Orange at 7-6, although by the time tourney talk rolls around, it‚Äôs improbable that the Orange survive with this loss on the resume. Is it still possible for the Orange to reach the dance? Yes, it is, they‚Äôd just have to pull off some crazy upsets like FSU this Saturday (2/15) and Louisville next Wednesday (2/19).
Guys who Stepped Up
Elijah Hughes played just 3 minutes before he had to be taken out due to an injury. That was a horrible sign right out of the gate for the Orange. However, his teammates stepped up in his place. Joe Girard dropped 30 on the Wolfpack before that number gets you too excited, the freshman shot just 40% from the field and just 10% from distance. It‚Äôs a great sign that he‚Äôs able to put up those kinds of numbers at such a high level, but ultimately it‚Äôs not the greatest performance to have when a player is missing way more shots than they‚Äôre taking. Other than Girard, Quincy Guerrier was phenomenal. 16 points alongside 10 boards nabbed him his first double-double of his career and he did it only fouling once! With Guerrier putting up numbers like these and Bourama Sidibe turning in poor performances more frequently than it snows in Syracuse, maybe he should start. Sidibe contributed just 2 points with 3 rebounds and fouled out only 25 minutes in. In his last two games combined the Junior has 4 points, 5 rebounds, and 10 fouls. That‚Äôs abysmal. It seems clear that a change needs to occur.
Buddy Boeheim‚Äôs Disappointing Performance
You‚Äôd think that with Hughes going so early it would pave the way for Boeheim to have a great game. Instead, he was incredibly disappointed. Boeheim seemed like he just didn‚Äôt have it, he chucked up 15 shots from the field and bricked 11 of them, he shot 26%. After two really good performances from the coach‚Äôs son, the fans definitely expected more from one of the team‚Äôs most reliable scorers, after all out of 24 games this year he‚Äôs only played this poorly six times. Obviously he‚Äôs still just a sophomore and with that, he‚Äôs got plenty of room to grow, but in that situation with his partner in crime missing, you want to see him step up.
It‚Äôs not all over for the Orange, with a couple upset possibilities left on the docket, there‚Äôs still a chance for March Madness.