A quick take on Syracuse’s 60-44 loss to No. 5 Duke inside the usual raucous atmosphere of Cameron Indoor Stadium Saturday evening:
WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse was held to its lowest point total of the season (also 44 points in the home loss to Virginia), and dropped to two games under .500 in the ACC with two games to play in the regular season by falling to 1-3 all-time on the road against the Blue Devils. SU never led, and several times cut the lead to eight points in the second half, but just couldn’t put a run together to makes things interesting down the stretch.
ANALYSIS: The Duke zone proved to be tough to score against as the Orange’s season-long offensive struggles continued with a season-low 16 first half points. Duke struggled with its outside shooting as well, finishing just 2-of-17 beyond the arc, but it was the Blue Devils (24-5, 12-4) inside game that was the difference. Syracuse (18-11, 7-9) could not contain the trio of big men Marvin Bagley III, Wendall Carter Jr. and Marques Bolden who combined for 42 points.
HERO: Returning after missing four games due to a knee injury, Duke’s latest freshman phenom Bagley III was stellar down low finishing with 19 points on 8-for-9 shooting and grabbing seven rebounds. Fellow frosh Carter Jr. chipped in with 12 points.
ZERO: The Orange offense continued its season-long struggle for consistent productivity, shooting just 31% overall and 24% (6-of-25 and a couple when the game was already decided) from three point range, along with 17 costly turnovers, the same number as SU’s total number of field goals.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse plays its final road game of the regular season traveling to Boston College on Wednesday, Feb. 28. SU beat BC 81-63 in the Dome on Jan. 24, one of only four games the Orange have scored 80 or more points this season. The Eagles (16-13, 6-10) fell at Miami 79-78 on a three-point buzzer-beater Saturday afternoon. Game Time: 9:00 p.m. ET / TV: ACC Regional Sports Networks.