A quick take on Syracuse’s 91-89 win against Duke in front of a crowd of 35,446 fans in the Carrier Dome, which broke the NCAA on-campus attendance record:
WHAT HAPPENED: With Syracuse leading 88-87 with 15 seconds left in overtime, Rodney Hood drove down the lane and was met by Rakeem Christmas. His go-ahead slam missed hard off the back rim and no foul was called, and Tyler Ennis and CJ Fair hit 3-4 from the line to preserve the win. The Orange appeared to have the game in hand after Ennis hit a pair of free throws to give SU a 78-75 lead at the end of regulation. But Rasheed Sulaimon drained a 3-pointer as time expired, sending the game to overtime.
ANALYSIS: Syracuse’s most anticipated regular season game of the 2013-14 season lived up to the hype, with a highly entertaining back-and-forth battle that was highly contested right from the tip. It was a fitting way for the 21-0 Orange to improve to its best start in school history. Neither team led by more than six points, and the game wasn’t decided until the final buzzer. Foul trouble played a huge factor in this game, with Amile Jefferson and Jabari Parker fouling out late in the second half, and Andre Dawkins fouled out late in the extra frame.
HERO: Fair notched a career high with 28 points, scoring on a variety of drives and mid-range shots. Jerami Grant also netted a career high with 24 points to go with 10 rebounds, including three dunks in overtime after Duke’s big men fouled out. Though the Blue Devils shot the ball well from beyond the arc (more on that below), Syracuse was excellent from the free throw line, hitting 26-32. Before they both fouled out, Jefferson and Parker combined for 29 points and 16 rebounds.
ZERO: Syracuse was consistently a step late on its defense slides on the perimeter, and Duke made them pay all evening. The Blue Devils shot 15 for 35 from distance, with Dawkins and Sulaimon combining for 8 of them. The Orange also struggled on the defensive glass, giving up 18 offensive rebounds which led to 22 second-chance points.
WHAT’S NEXT: No. 1 Arizona lost to Cal later in the evening, 60-58, which means that Syracuse will be the top-ranked team in the country when they host Notre Dame on Monday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. TV: ESPN.