Orange Fizz


Syracuse’s End-of-Game Performance is Indicative of Young Team

Once again, Syracuse had a chance to take down one of the top teams in the ACC Tuesday night but faltered late in a 72-68 loss in the Dome to North Carolina. There were questionable moments, like Judah Mintz getting called for a flagrant one-foul that essentially ended the game with ten seconds left. Plus, the fact that the Tar Heels took 23 free throws, and the Orange took only three.

But, inexperience showed in many ways. Leading 68-66 with under 30 seconds to go, SU had a lapse defensively, and Jesse Edwards had to prevent Pete Nance from dunking to tie the game by fouling him, which fouled out the senior center (who did nothing against Armando Bacot all night). Then, after Nance missed the second free throw, the rebound was tipped and saved right into his arms under the basket and UNC took a one-point lead.

Then, Mintz raced down the floor after a timeout and barreled into RJ Davis for an offensive foul (the right call), but a flagrant was excessive and ended the game. But, it was just another tell about how the Orange have struggled so much in late-game situations. Mintz was out of control against Miami last week and SU lost that one. In both games in Brooklyn in November, Syracuse had chances to win in regulation and put up some bizarre shots.

The Orange almost gave away the game at Louisville, but a key steal ensured a win. There are more, but the point stands. Inexperience is really hurting this team in the latter stages of close games, and despite typically having two seniors on the floor in Edwards and Joe Girard III, that has not mattered. The play often breaks down and someone (Mintz) has to create something, usually not in a good way.

Syracuse’s performances against these teams over the last few weeks have been very encouraging. This is clearly a very young team getting better as time goes on, but the specific late-game aspect is still a big problem and one that Orange have to fix. Syracuse has two more games left in January, at Virginia Tech and hosting Virginia. Two tough games, but both are winnable.

The Orange need to get one from the two Virginia schools over the next five days because if not you can kiss an at-large bid to the tournament goodbye. Syracuse’s chance for big resume wins are dwindling down, and it let another slip through its fingers with the UNC loss. All that’s left in February is hosting NC State and Duke (two mediocre teams), and playing at Pitt and Clemson (who may not be that good when late February comes around).

So, the time is now for the Orange to mature down the stretch and get their act together, because if they don’t the postseason is going to be unreachable. Late-game situations are putting nails in SU’s coffin right now, and Jim Boeheim needs to find a solution for getting his team past this issue.

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.


Copyright © 2022 Orange Fizz

To Top