Syracuse fought to come back against Clemson on Saturday, but it couldn’t hang on. SU’s defense was electric in the second half to give the Orange a shot. The offense couldn’t find a groove with a hungry home crowd that was ready to explode. Let’s dive into the outcome of Syracuse’s third loss in four games.
Return of Joe Girard:
The question all week was whether or not Syracuse fans would boo Girard. It turned out to be a mixed reaction from the crowd. Boos emerged from the student section. Mostly cheers reigned down from the rest of the Dome. He made his presence known midway through the first half when he knocked down two three-pointers.
Girard finished with 18 points, leading all scorers. He ended up with four triples and reached 2,000 career points in the Tigers’ victory. Girard looked calm and collected throughout his emotional return.
Syracuse trailed 37-24 at halftime. The defense kept the Orange in this game, especially at the start of the second half. SU forced 21 turnovers and scored 15 points as a result in the game. Syracuse had active hands, picked off open lanes, and took care of business on this end of the floor.
Inconsistency continues. SU’s offense is struggling the most right now. SU posted a season-low 24 points at halftime. The Orange shot just 29% in the first half. They were stagnant and there was no ball movement. Although they went on a run in the second half, the offense increased that percentage to just 39% from the floor in the game.
Some may say the rebounding is the Orange’s nemesis at the moment, but given the available personnel every game, it’s to be expected. Syracuse came out flat in regards to crashing the boards.
The Orange were outrebounded 27-11 in the first half. They looked slow, out of sorts, and had too many breakdowns. Clemson outscored Syracuse 28-10 in the paint.
Syracuse’s defense played well, especially in the latter part of Saturday’s contest. The starters played well, but couldn’t knock down shots when it mattered. JJ Starling and Chris Bell each notched 16 points. Judah Mintz followed with 14 points and Quadir Copeland had 13 points.
Clemson ran away with the lead in the dwindling minutes when Mintz and SU took some questionable shots.
The Orange are just one or two pieces from being a solid ACC team, but for the rest of the season, expect a lot of ups and downs.