Brooklyn, N.Y. – A quick take on Syracuse’s 64-50 upset loss to South Carolina in front of an announced crowd of 8,733 at the Barclays Center Saturday afternoon:
WHAT HAPPENED: In front of a partisan audience of orange-clad, Orange faithful loudly chanting, “Let’s Go Orange” throughout the afternoon, South Carolina (6-0) ruined the NYC holiday weekend party by leading throughout the game. Up nine points at halftime, the Gamecocks held off any thoughts of a Syracuse (4-1) second half comeback, by hitting key baskets or foul shots to off set Orange runs, and the first defeat of the early portion of the season illustrates that this year’s team, with five newcomers, is still a work in progress.
ANALYSIS: As is often going to be the case this season, how well the ‘Cuse 2-3 defense performs will go a long way to determining the team’s success, and the Gamecocks aggressive offensive game plan kept the ball and their players in motion, often times finding the right opening or pass to score late in the offensive (shot clock) possession. On the flip side, the Orange offense was stymied by a tough Carolina man-to-man defense (17 turnovers), although the Gamecocks even played a little zone in the second half while protecting their lead.
HERO: South Carolina sophomore guard PJ Dozier hurt the Orange, especially in the first half, finishing with 15 points. Dozier creatively found his open shots in the seams of the ‘Cuse zone and was active at both ends. He also had a game high 10 rebounds including two on the offensive end that led to USC followup baskets. Yet despite all of that,the MVP award went to Dozier’s teammate Sindarius Thornwell who finished with 16 points.
ZERO: With all due respect, it’s a not a good day if the SU football team (61) scores more than the basketball team (50), which was the case Saturday. Missed free throws, Syracuse was 16 for 26 hurt in the second half when the Orange made several comeback bids, and finished with a dismal 33% shooting from the field.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse meets Wisconsin (4-2) for the second straight year in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge Tuesday night, Nov. 29 at the Kohl Center in Madison. Last year in the Dome the Badgers beat SU 66-58 in overtime. Wisconsin hosts Prairie View A&M on Sunday. Game Time 7:30 p.m. ET / TV ESPN.