Syracuse seemingly was in control of the game.
When 52 seconds left and the game tied at 59, the Orange came out of a timeout set to run a play that would give them the lead. Dion Waiters had the ball out of bounds near the halfcourt line and Scoop Jardine came up to receive the pass.
But Waiters’ in-bounds pass sailed wide, and Jardine tried to stop the ball from going into the backcourt. While it was unclear whether Jardine stepped behind the line with the ball in his possession, he was whistled for over-and-back.
It was one of 18 turnovers for Syracuse, roughly six above its season average.
“It was just a miscommunication,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “[Waiters] needed to wait for Scoop to get clear a little bit.”
The word miscommuncation was used a lot when describing that play.
“It was just a miscommunication we didn’t need at the time,” Jardine said. “But I should’ve just went to the back court in the first place.”
On the ensuing possession. Darius Johnson-Odom nailed a 3-pointer, and the Orange never recovered.
“Turning point of the game as you can see,” Waiters said. “So much was going through my mind. I was just going to throw it back there and things happened.”
It was a bitter ending to an otherwise sweet game for Waiters. The freshman ended his season with a career-high 18 points on 8-for-10 shooting from the field. The first time these two teams met on Jan. 29, Waiters didn’t play.
Sunday night’s game was completely the opposite, as Waiters played the majority of the second half after Brandon Triche went down with a tailbone injury.
Waiters seemingly penetrated at will and was able to finish on several difficult drives rather than settling for jumpers.
“I had to step up,” Waiters said. “I told myself I had to be mentally and physically ready.”
But the last in-bounds play still stings.
“We didn’t read each other,” Waiters said. “I don’t even know what to say.”