A quick take on Syracuse’s 80-72 loss against Duke on Saturday evening:
WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse started 7-11 from downtown and led by 11 with 3:30 left in the first half. But the Blue Devils erased a three-point halftime deficit by starting on a 7-0 run to begin the second half, and eventually took a 57-48 lead with 12:23 left, a swing of 22 points. The Orange would eventually cut the lead to four points with 3:22 left, but would get no closer than that.
ANALYSIS: When Syracuse goes and looks at the tape of this game, they’ll see a game filled with missed opportunities. The Orange missed far too many shots around the basket, and after starting 7-11 from downtown, SU was 1-10 in the second half. Syracuse also was 6-13 from the free throw line. The loss had nothing to do with the crowd at the Carrier Dome, with a crowd of better than 35,000. It was an electric atmosphere for most of the first half, and the Dome was alive late in the second half when SU made its final run.
HERO: In a hyped matchup between Rakeem Christmas and Jahlil Okafor, Okafor easily won the battle. He scored 23 points on 10-15 shooting to go along with 13 rebounds. He also forced Christmas into 5-17 shooting from the field. Syracuse hung in there with Duke because of transfer Michael Gbinije, who led all scorers with 27 points on 10-13 shooting from the field. The Orange also got 19 points and 10 rebounds from Tyler Roberson.
ZERO: After hitting his first three shots of the evening, Trevor Cooney missed his next 10 shots. He had 11 points, but went 4-14 from the field.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse will host No. 9 Louisville on Feb. 18 at 7 p.m.