Instant Juice: Syracuse 83, North Carolina 93

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Christmas had another double-double for the Orange in the loss

A quick take on Syracuse’s 93-83 loss against North Carolina on Monday evening:

WHAT HAPPENED: A 7-0 run midway through the second half turned a one point deficit for North Carolina into a 68-62 lead with 7:13 left. Guard Nate Britt hit a pair of 3s during that run, part of four 3-pointers on the night. He had only hit 13 the entire season. Syracuse simply ran out of gas from there, as the Tar Heels never trailed again after that run.

» Related: Syracuse is squarely on the NCAA Tourney bubble

ANALYSIS: Put this game up there with Villanova as a loss that Syracuse could’ve pointed to as a resume win on Selection Sunday. The Orange led for most of the first half and midway into the second, but fatigue and lack of depth played a factor down the stretch with SU’s rotation now shrunk to just six players. That was particularly evident with Rakeem Christmas, who played all 40 minutes and had to sag off on defense allowing UNC multiple easy buckets after picking up his third foul. UNC’s interior scoring and unusually torrid outside shooting (9-16) negated 20 turnovers.

HERO: Marcus Paige led the Tar Heels with 22 points on 4-7 from downtown and added eight assists and six rebounds.  Brice Johnson didn’t miss a shot down low the whole night (6-6) and tied Britt for points with 17. As for the Orange, the loss certainly wasn’t for lack of production from its “Big 3.” Trevor Cooney (28 points), Rakeem Christmas (22 points and 12 rebounds) and Michael Gbinije (16) all kept SU in the game for most of the night.

ZERO: Ron Patterson’s offensive struggles continue. The sophomore guard came in shooting 25 percent from the field for the season and was 0-5 from the field and 0-3 from downtown.

WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse hosts Virginia Tech on Tuesday, Feb. 3 at 9 p.m. TV: ESPNU.

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Wes Cheng

About Wes Cheng

Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.
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