Durham, N.C. – A quick take on Syracuse’s back and forth, crazy at the finish 66-60 loss against Duke at an absolutely raucous Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday evening:
WHAT HAPPENED: Picking up from where they left off Feb. 1 in the Dome, the newest intense ACC rivalry pitting the highly ranked Orange (25-2, 12-2) and No. 5 Duke (22-6, 11-4) didn’t disappoint in about the best intense, close-to-the-action atmosphere that exists among a big time program’s homecourt. In a unbelievable and frantic finish, Jim Boeheim was ejected for arguing an offensive foul on C.J. Fair with 10.4 seconds to play, SU down two, to lead to the clinching foul shots to win for the Devils.
ANALYSIS: Offensively Syracuse was aggressive, the shots just weren’t falling. The continued Syracuse shooting woes stymied an overall Orange game plan that did get points inside from Jerami Grant (17) and Fair (12), but nothing outside the arc. Duke big men Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood dominated on the boards, and keyed the Devils second half surge with Parker draining threes and jams. Once Boeheim was ejected with two technical fouls, Duke was able to hit enough of the FTs to win by six.
HERO: Duke freshman standout Parker got better as the game progressed at both ends, finishing with a game high 19 points and 10 boards, and a key follow up basket with 1:23 left to put Duke up three.
ZERO: Still not enough consistent outside shooting to get opposing defenses to cheat, SU only had two 3 point FG’s, and in the final 2:00 the SU defense, which had played well throughout, couldn’t stop Parker with the game on the line. Boeheim’s outburst settled matters. The offensive foul call on Fair was tough to swallow, especially with the way games have been called in college basketball nationally this season.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse has a quick turn around as it continues the current three game road trip by heading to College Park to play Maryland on Monday, Feb. 24. The Terps (15-12, 7-7) last played Tuesday beating Wake Forest 71-60. This is the first time SU will have played at the Comcast Center. Game Time: 7:00 p.m. ET / TV: ESPN.