A quick take on Syracuse’s 74-73 loss against Clemson on Tuesday evening at the Carrier Dome:
WHAT HAPPENED: Down 74-73 with six seconds left, the Orange stole an inbounds pass and Michael Gbinije found a wide-open Trevor Cooney for a potential game-winning shot from beyond the arc right next to the Syracuse bench. But the shot was well short and Clemson was able to run out the clock with one second left. SU appeared to have the game won in regulation, up 61-58 points with 18 seconds left. But Gabe DeVoe drained a game-tying 3-pointer to send the game to the extra frame and the Orange to a crushing loss.
ANALYSIS: Syracuse is now 0-3 in ACC play and is looking less and less like an NCAA tournament team. For the third straight game, the Orange failed to get stops down the stretch, with Clemson easily finding layups and high percentage shots in overtime against SU’s 2-3 zone. Conversely, the Orange had to overcome 38 percent shooting and an eight-point halftime deficit to even be in this game. The Orange stayed in it by rebounding well on the offensive end, corralling 14 offensive rebounds, and losing the overall rebounding battle by just one. But free throws hurt the Orange, as it shot just 12-19 as a team. Malachi Richardson, who had just put the Orange up four near the end of regulation with a miraculous 3-pointer as the shot clock expired, had the chance to seal the game with a pair of free throws to put his team up four. But his split the pair at the line, allowing Clemson to send the game to overtime.
HERO: Landry Nnoko punished the Orange on the interior for 19 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out. Blossomgame finished with 20 points. Richardson was 5-7 from downtown to chip in 21 points, while Gbinije’s 22 led SU, but he took 19 shots to get there.
ZERO: Mike Hopkins, anointed as the next head coach, had a rough nine-game interim stretch as the interim head coach. The Orange went 4-5 under his watch, with bad losses against St. John’s and now the Tigers. Syracuse also faded badly in its opening two ACC games against Pittsburgh and Miami. He’ll need to do better when he officially takes the reigns. Syracuse will also need more from Tyler Lydon. The freshman turned heads with his play down in the Bahamas, but has badly regressed since then, often looking lost on the offensive end. Lydon was just 1-6 from the field against the Tigers and has averaged just 5.3 points per game in conference play.
WHAT’S NEXT: Jim Boeheim returns to assume head coaching duties on Saturday at the Carrier Dome against UNC for an 8 p.m. tip. TV: ESPN.