With Syracuse losing its last three games seemingly in the last two minutes of the game, I figured it would be a good time to take a closer look at what’s been going on.
The metric is simple: I looked at shots from the field and at the free throw line if the game was within 10 points at any time within two minutes left.
Hank Domin of Syracuse.com did something similar back in January with seven games (Arkansas, Detroit, Temple, Providence, Villanova, Louisville, Cincinnati), but Syracuse has played an additional six games in “clutch” situations since he did his analysis. It’s also worth noting that Syracuse has lost five games since Domin’s Jan. 28 analysis.
So, included in the new numbers are: Feb. 2 against Pitt; Feb. 13 against UCONN; Feb. 16 against Seton Hall; Feb. 23 against Georgetown; Feb. 25 against Marquette; and March 2 against Louisville. I’ll go over each game, tabulate the totals, and then making some findings.
Let’s start with the Pittsburgh game on Feb. 2, a 65-55 loss for the Orange:
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SU’s next “clutch” game was against UCONN on Feb. 13, a 66-58 loss:
Seton Hall barely fits this category. If you remember, Syracuse was in control for most of the second half, but SHU did get to within 8 points with under a minute left. So the 76-65 win on Feb. 16 counts:
Next on the docket was Georgetown on Feb. 23:
Two days later, SU lost to Marquette 74-71:
And finally Syracuse’s loss to Louisville over the weekend:
So if you combine these stats with the stats that Domin had on Jan. 28, you get:
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Some observations I made:
- Fair is the team’s leading scorer (14.6), 3-point shooter (43.6) and second best free throw shooter (80.7), so it makes sense that he’s the best on the team in these categories in close games. Needless to say, you want the ball in his hands when the game is on the line.
- Carter-Williams is fourth on the team in scoring (12.5) and third on the team in shots attempted (304) but he’s more likely to take the shot than anyone else on the roster. That’s also not surprising given that the ball is always in his hands as the point guard. As for his outside shooting, he’s shooting 28 percent on the season from 3-point land, and lo and behold, he’s shooting 28 percent in “clutch situations.”
- Meanwhile, Triche, the team’s second leading scorer (14.2) and the player who’s taken the most shots on the team (343 – the next closest is Fair at 321), defers to his teammates with the game on the line.
- Southerland’s statistics aren’t necessarily a fair sample size considering that he was academically ineligible for five of the games SU was in a close game. Still, 2 for 9 from 3-point land for your best shooter (he’s actually at 39 percent on the season, so he’s not statistically the best, but you know what I mean here) is a little concerning.
- The Orange is shooting 74 percent from the line in “clutch” situations, but the rest of the time, they are shooting at a 68 percent clip.