One game after Syracuse’s freshmen duo of Malachi Richardson and Tyler Lydon led the Orange to a convincing win against Boston College, the two struggled in a lopsided 72-58 loss to Louisville on Thursday evening.
Lydon finished with six points on 2-7 shooting. Richardson was in double digits with 10 points, but was 2-9 from the field.
“Tyler played great,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said after the loss. “Malachi has played great. They were 4-for-16.”
Contrast that with Syracuse’s 75-61 win over Boston College on Sunday, when the two combined for 35 points. Lydon in particular had one of the best games of his young career, with a career-high 20 points to go with six rebounds.
“They’ve been good,” Boeheim said. “They’ve been really good. As far as freshman, they’ve been very consistent and they just had a bad night. We don’t have room for error with having two guys have bad nights like that.”
Syracuse’s third freshman, Frank Howard, played 23 minutes and contributed six assists to just one turnover. But Howard, as has been the case all season, struggled to find his offense, and finished with just one point.
“He helped us with getting the ball up the court,” Boeheim said. “He just has trouble defensively and he has trouble getting something where he can score. He’s got to work on that.”
The defensive struggles weren’t limited to just Howard, as Syracuse allowed the Cardinals to shoot 47.8 percent from the field. The Orange was also dominated inside, with Chinanu Onuaku grabbing 15 rebounds to go with his 13 points.
Overall, the Orange was outscored in the paint 50-20.
“Our interior defense isn’t great,” Boeheim said. “We forced them to take a little bit tougher shots in the first half and they missed that in-between shot and in the second half they really still missed it, but they got it back. That was probably the difference.”
Still, it was just SU’s second loss in its last 10 games, and with four games to go, the Orange has 10/1 odds of winning the ACC Tournament, according to Sports Betting Dime. ESPN’s Bracketology has Syracuse listed as an 11 seed in the eastern region opening against Providence.
“This,” Boeheim said, “is really our first bad road game.”