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Tuesday Night’s Loss Is No Reason To Panic

Photo Courtesy of Duke Athletics

The box score certainly does not look pretty, particularly when you glance at the second half. The lack of a student section inside Cameron Indoor Stadium can’t make you feel good either. It was the same old story on Tuesday night. Duke eviscerating Syracuse in Durham. Make it nine straight losses in the all-time series for the Orange, including 11 of the last 12. But let it be of some solace that this loss isn’t one that should have red flags raised super high.

Even if this isn’t the Duke of old with a Paolo Banchero or Zion Williamson pure superstar figure, it is still Duke. The Blue Devils are chalk-filled with four and five-star talent every season, and this year’s squad has something many past Duke teams do not. Experience. In an age where one-and-done rules all, Kyle Filipowski coming back for a second year was a game-changer in Durham. And again, this isn’t a world-beating top-5 Duke team, but it’s still the number-14 team in the country, on the road, in a venue that always draws a crowd, even when students are on break. The Blue Devils under Jon Scheyer may not be what they were under Coach K yet, but they are still college basketball royalty. Losing to them is no shame.

Tuesday’s game was also a fresh reminder that ACC road venues are no joke. One month exactly had passed since Syracuse was humbled by Virginia in Charlottesville. Say what you want about them only playing five games, but that is a long time in college basketball. With students coming back from winter break within the next week or two, environments like what we saw last night on the road are going to be the norm going forward. It’s the experience that you feel good about. Yes, even though the majority of the roster was with Syracuse or another ACC team last year, none of them are exactly in the same role. Last night’s game will prepare the Orange for the remainder of ACC play.

Finally, as painful as the second half was, let’s talk about the first. Adrian Autry had his guys prepared to compete from the jump. Though it was a struggle shooting all night long for the entire roster, the hustle was there. The energy was there. The will to win was there. Even if the outcome wasn’t what he wanted, Maliq Brown had an amazing night. The big difference from half one to half two? Those energy and hustle plays from guys not named Brown in transition. Duke was perfect from beyond the arc in the second half. Do you think a few closeouts might have helped the cause? The second half was a harsh reminder that you can never let up against a team of the Blue Devils’ caliber, but the first half showed that when SU is giving 110%, it could compete with anybody.

Nobody likes losing to Duke, especially for the ninth time in a row. But if you go beyond the box score, you can see plenty of room for growth and reason to be excited. Please, don’t press the panic button just yet.

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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.

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