A quick take on Syracuse’s 71-57 loss to North Carolina State on Saturday afternoon:
WHAT HAPPENED: With 4:22 left in the first half, Trevor Cooney’s 3-pointer put Syracuse up 23-15. But from there, Syracuse went ice cold, mustering just two points in the next 10 minutes. By the time Abdul-Malik Abu tipped in a shot with 14:27 left, NC State had a 44-27 lead. Syracuse would cut the lead to 57-48 with around four minutes left aided by a 9-0 run, but a pair of Ralston Turner 3-pointers put NC State up 65-48 with 2:56 left, and put the game out of reach.
ANALYSIS: As has been the case so many times this season, the Orange struggled on offense. SU shot 32 percent from the field and 5-19 from downtown, and went 0-9 from the field while NC State took control with a 16-0 run. Christmas, who has developed a reputation for being one of the country’s most reliable interior scorers this season, uncharacteristically misfired on his first seven shots of the game, and his Orange teammates couldn’t pick up the slack.
HERO: NC State’s starting backcourt of Trevor Lacey and Turner led the Wolfpack with 19 points apiece on a combined 8-20 from downtown. As for SU, Tyler Roberson was active on the boards, and led the Orange with 16 points and nine rebounds.
ZERO: Christmas finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds, but needed 15 shots to get there. SU’s backcourt of Trevor Cooney and Kaleb Joseph were a combined 4-16 from the field.
WHAT’S NEXT: A long offseason on the heels of crippling sanctions announced by the NCAA on Friday. The Orange will look markedly different next year, with the addition of one of SU’s best recruiting classes in recent memory. SU should also return DaJuan Coleman and Chris McCullough, who missed significant time with knee injuries. Christmas moves on — hopefully to the NBA — while it will be interesting to see if there are any offseason transfers.