Syracuse v. Temple — What we learned

Fair had a career-high in points

Syracuse lost 83-79 on Saturday at Madison Square Garden. Here are some thoughts from the game:

Foul shots are key in close games

Foul shots are free points. Khalif Wyatt knows that and took advantage of all 14 points he was offered from the stripe. The Orange shot 19-for-34 and lost the game by four. You do the math. If the Orange shot a bit better from the line, it’s an entirely different game. The guy who got to the line most because of his aggressive, drive-to-the-hoop style of play was Michael Carter-Williams. He shot less than 50% (7-for15) and missed some crucial foul shots late.

Fair had a career-high in points

» Related: Free throws an issue in loss

The big men need to step up

Dajuan Coleman and Rakeem Christmas combined for four points and five rebounds in today’s game. The Orange gave up some big offensive rebounds late that allowed Temple to really take some time off the clock when every second was crucial. The Owls shouldn’t have even been close in rebounding margin. The Orange are bigger and taller but the zone often puts the team out of position for rebounds. But in close games, those big guys in the middle have to fight for position and come down with the key rebounds.

Stop complaining about the refs

I was doing it and I know you’re doing it. Sure, there were a couple of calls at the end of the game that even Doug Gottlieb said were bad, but that’s not the reason the Orange lost this game. It was sloppy play, poor shot selection and those foul shots that I mentioned before. I love using the refs as a scapegoat just as much as the next guy, but it just doesn’t make sense today.

» Related: Orange fall short at MSG

This loss might be the best thing that could have happened

A game like this is a lot more valuable than a 50-point blow out. There’s so much to learn and take away from this game. It also knocks the team down a few pegs. The Temple head coach said after the game that they wouldn’t have won today if the team didn’t lose to Canisius earlier this week. It’s losses that light a fire under a team and the Orange could really use some fire right now.

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