SYRACUSE, N.Y. – A quick take on No. 25 Syracuse’s disappointing 68-62 loss to Old Dominion in front of 17,585 at the Dome Saturday afternoon.
WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse (7-3) saw its perfect home record so far this season come to an end, as the Orange offense sputtered in the second half, while ODU (8-3) caught fire shooting 55% after intermission to come back from a 10 point halftime deficit to shock the Orange.
ANALYSIS: As was the case last year, if the Orange have trouble scoring, they will have trouble winning games. Even if the zone defense causes teams enough consternation with poor outside shooting and turnovers, Old Dominion shot just 34% from three point range with 18 turnovers, SU has not had enough offensive firepower to put teams away.
HERO: Old Dominion guards B.J. Stith and Xavier Green were marvelous hitting key three point baskets when needed, or keeping the Orange at bay by hitting their foul shots. Stith finished with a team-high 18 points, and Green had 15 including the three point basket that put ODU up to stay with just over 5:00 to play.
ZERO: At the 12:15 mark of the second half with SU up five points, both centers, Paschal Chukwu and Bourama Sidibe were sitting on the bench with undersized Marek Dolezaj manning the middle. As Jim Boeheim said this week, the Orange need their centers to perform and balance the offense with an inside game. Chukwu played down the stretch, but neither big man scored and they combined for seven rebounds, while Dolezaj had six boards himself playing half the game. The ‘Cuse also missed 12 free throws and they needed every one of those points.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse continues its December home stand facing No. 14/15 Buffalo Tuesday night, Dec. 18 at the Dome. The Bulls (10-0) are off to their best start since the 1930-31 season after defeating Southern Illinois 73-65 Saturday afternoon. The teams met last year in the Dome with SU winning 81-74. Game Time: 8:00 p.m. ET / TV-Radio: ESPN2-Sirius XM.