For the second time this season, Syracuse Men’s Basketball falls to Pittsburgh. This time by a final score of 96-76, which is SU’s largest loss to Pitt since joining the ACC. It’s still early with plenty of games left to be played, but boy was this a horrible loss. Let’s take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly from Saturday’s showdown.
There’s not much you can point to and say it was good for Syracuse in this game. The first half defense was decent, there was a stint in the second half that the Orange looked okay, but that was just about it.
If you had to pick something as the good, it would have to be the play of Alan Griffin. After exiting the game after the first minute of play due to not feeling well, the transfer came back in the game and poured in 28 points on 10-18 shooting. What was most impressive was his drive to get to the free throw line. Griffin shot six free throws, which is his second highest mark of the season. He wasn’t just settling for bad, contested threes. He was making smart decisions and was really the only offensive threat for the Orange.
There was plenty of bad in this specific game, but let’s zoom out a little bit. The bad part of this loss is how it impacts Syracuse’s tournament hopes. The Orange need all the help they can get and losing two games to a middle-of-the-pack Pittsburgh team is not ideal, especially with one of them being a 20-point loss. Now, there is still plenty of time to fix the resume, but if Syracuse is on the bubble again this year, which it presumably will be, this loss could be the needle that pops it.
Syracuse can’t go back in time and fix the loss, so now we just have to hope that Pitt turns into a great team and makes this loss look reasonable.
Oh boy, there are so many things to pick for the ugly here. Let’s start with the rebounding. Yet again Syracuse lost the battle of the boards. Pitt snatched 47 rebounds, compared to SU’s 35. That’s not great, but it’s also not the worst part. What’s even worse is that the Panthers had 16 offensive rebounds, leading to 18 second chance points. If the Orange were able to control the boards, this would have been a game.
Want another piece of ugly? Well, here you go– Syracuse’s second half performance. The Orange lost the last frame 64-39. That is the most amount of points SU has given up in a single half this season. It is becoming a trend, Syracuse just doesn’t perform in the second half. IA lot of Fizzsters are claiming the second half meltdowns are because of stamina and Jim Boeheim not using the bench, but that’s not it. Not once did an Orange player grab his knees and bend over gasping for breath against Pittsburgh. The problem is the second half decision making. Syracuse tries to force too much when it gets down, which leads to bad shots and turnovers. n order to win games now, the Orange need to be up by at least 15 at halftime. It’s ugly, ugly.