Instant Juice: Syracuse 57, Clemson 44

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Syracuse's season quickly went downhill

A quick take on Syracuse’s 57-44 win against Clemson on Sunday evening:

WHAT HAPPENED: The Orange closed the first half with a 9-0 run, opening up a game that had been tight from the opening jump.  Clemson was never able to get all the way back in it, as the SU lead never shrank below five points.  Trevor Cooney delivered the knockout blow, closing a 15-5 SU run with a three-ball with just over two minutes on the clock that boosted Syracuse to a 15-point lead.

» Related: Plenty to love about Syracuse basketball

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Fair led Syracuse to its 23rd win

ANALYSIS: Clemson hung around in the first half by making their free throws.  They were undone by their offense, though, as they shot a mere 34.1 percent from the floor in the game.  SU pounded the Tigers inside, finishing the night with a 32-14 advantage in points in the paint.

HERO: On a night when possessions were at a premium, C.J. Fair consistently delivered for the Orange.  The senior forward topped all scorers with 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the floor.

ZERO: This dubious distinction belongs to either Rakeem Christmas, who spent almost nine minutes of the second half on the pine with four fouls or the officials who made some interesting calls to help get him there.  Not helping matters was Baye Moussa Keita sitting out the second half with a sprained knee, forcing Jerami Grant into the center spot of the 2-3 zone.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Orange will play the Pitt Panthers on Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. in Pittsburgh, PA. TV: ESPN.

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Jim Stechschulte
About Jim Stechschulte 510 Articles
A 1996 graduate of Syracuse University, Jim has reported on Syracuse sports for the Syracuse University Alumni Club of Southern California on nearly a decade, where he currently resides. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by NBA.com. Follow him on Twitter @DSafetyGuy.