A quick take on Syracuse’s demoralizing 74-70 loss to NC State on Wednesday evening at the Carrier Dome:
WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse, trailing by eight points with 2:48 left mounted an unlikely 8-0 run to tie the game at 70 after an Oshae Brissett’s 3-pointer. But as was the case all night long, the Orange failed to defend the 3-point line on the ensuing possession, and Markell Johnson’s 3-pointer gave NC State a lead it would never relinquish. Frank Howard had a chance to pull SU to within one with five seconds left, but he uncharacteristically missed two free throws. The loss dealt a serious blow to SU’s NCAA Tournament chances.
ANALYSIS: Syracuse’s defense, which has been its saving grace for most of the season, failed against the Wolfpack. NC State shot 55.1 percent from the field and 10-23 from downtown. Sam Hunt in particular hurt the Orange, coming off the bench to hit four 3-pointers. It spoiled what was a good offensive performance for the Orange. It shot 52.3 percent and a respectable 5-14 from downtown.
HERO: Oshae Brissett tied a career-high with 25 points on 8-13 shooting from the field and 4-7 from downtown, though his last miss could’ve tied the game with under 10 seconds left. Allerik Freeman led NC State with 17 points to go with five assists.
ZERO: NC State was one of two unranked teams left on the Orange’s schedule, with Boston College being the other. The golden standard for NCAA teams coming out of the ACC seems to be a 9-9 record in conference. In order to hit that mark now, the Orange will need to upset two of the top 25 teams still left on the schedule (Duke, UNC, Miami and Clemson), while also securing a win against Boston College, which is no guarantee. Put simply: This loss hurt.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse stays home, hosting NC State on Wednesday at 9 p.m.