A quick take on Syracuse’s 66-63 loss against NC State in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals:
WHAT HAPPENED: Down three points with 25 seconds left, Syracuse had six separate opportunities to either cut into the lead or tie the game. But in a wild final sequence, the Orange went 0-6 from the field, and 0-4 from downtown. The key shot in the game turned out to be a banked 3-pointer from the top of the key from Ralston Turner with 2:41 left, which broke a 59-59 tie. The Wolfpack held the lead from that point forward. NC State was a team in search of a resume win for the NCAA Tournament, and now, it appears to have found it.
ANALYSIS: With a possible one seed in the east on the line, the Orange completely wilted. The one seed was a possibility thanks to an inexplicable loss by Villanova to Seton Hall, but SU couldn’t take advantage. SU played another poor offensive game that has become indicative of what they’ve done over the past six weeks. Syracuse shot 32 percent from the field and 4-17 from downtown, while their defense looked porous in allowing the Wolfpack to shoot 46 percent from the floor.
HERO: TJ Warren, the ACC’s Player of the Year, played every bit the part. He finished with a game-high 26 points and 8 rebounds. Jordan Vandenberg hit all five of his shots and chipped in 10 points. Had it not been for the efforts of Tyler Ennis and Jerami Grant, Syracuse would’ve been blown out. The two combined for 40 of SU’s 63 points.
ZERO: CJ Fair has been SU’s best offensive player for most of the season, but was dreadful tonight. He finished 3- 15 from the field with 9 points. Trevor Cooney continued his funk against ACC teams, and was 1-6 from downtown. Moussa Keita finished with two points and three rebounds, but the stat line doesn’t fully tell the tale of how poor he played. The center seemed allergic to the basketball both in attempting to rebound and making any kind of offensive movement.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse awaits its seeding for the NCAA Tournament. At one time, SU was looked at as a sure fire one seed with a trip through Buffalo and New York in the east region. Now, the Orange look to be on the 3 line, and could end up in any of the regions. It has been a steep drop for the team that started the season 25-0.