A quick take on Syracuse’s 75-70 loss against North Carolina on Monday evening:
WHAT HAPPENED: Down 73-70 with seven seconds left, Michael Gbinije missed a transition layup that was rebounded by UNC. Joel Berry calmly hit a pair of free throws to put the Tar Heels back up five, and a desperation 3 at the buzzer from Malachi Richardson fell short. It was a disappointing ending for the Orange, who chipped away at an 11 point deficit with 9:47 left, but could never quite overtake the Tar Heels.
ANALYSIS: Syracuse can point to 15 turnovers for its struggles. Offensive fouls were a problem all night, with Gbinije picking up three in the first half, and a key push-off on Richardson with 1:35 costing SU an upset opportunity. The Orange also struggled inside (-6 on the board) and out (5-20 from 3), and assisted on just nine of its 23 field goals. The loss leaves SU with work to do to secure an NCAA bid. A win in its ACC finale would give the Orange a 20-win season and 10 wins in conference, but a road win against a top 10 team would’ve secured a spot.
HERO: Brice Johnson’s 14 points and 10 rebounds led the Tar Heels. Gbinije paced the Orange with 17 points and seven assists.
ZERO: Trevor Cooney was second on the team in scoring with 14 points, but was 3-11 from the field and 2-7 from downtown.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse closes out the regular season on Saturday, March 5 at 2 p.m. against Florida State in Tallahassee (Fla.). TV: ESPN2.