A quick take on Syracuse’s disappointing 71-59 loss to No. 14 Buffalo on Tuesday night at the Carrier Dome:
WHAT HAPPENED: After a pair of Tyus Battle free throws pulled the Orange to within 59-57 with 4:25 left, Buffalo went on an 8-0 run to put the game out of reach. CJ Massinburg’s 3-pointer with 2:08 left gave the Bulls a 67-57 lead before a shocked Carrier Dome crowd, which saw its team lose back-to-back games against non-conference opponents for the first time in 43 years. The game was reminiscent of the Orange’s loss to Old Dominion on Saturday, when SU held a lead early in the second half, only to allow its opponent to use a late run en route to a win.
ANALYSIS: Syracuse had far too many self-inflicted wounds to defeat one of the nine remaining unbeaten teams in the country. Syracuse shot just 5-13 from the free throw line and in the second half was dominated on the glass, 29-17, including 10 Bulls offensive rebounds that led to 10 second chance points. Perhaps more concerning is that SU’s offense shows little signs of improving. The Orange combined for just seven assists on its 24 field goals, and after it started 4-9 from downtown, it ended up shooting just 6 of 22. And for a team with as much length as the Orange, it surrounded a -13 rebounding margin.
HERO: CJ Massinburg led the Bulls with 25 points, while chipping in seven rebounds and five assists. Nick Perkins recorded a double-double, notching 12 rebounds go to with 10 points.
ZERO: Syracuse blew a golden opportunity to add a resume win in non-conference play to offset an embarrassing loss to Old Dominion over the weekend. Once touted as one of the best teams in the ACC, the Orange is now looking at yet another season on the bubble as it nears ACC play. And with its offense sputtering and little production from its bench to speak of, the answers to SU’s woes don’t appear to be arriving anytime soon.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse hosts Arkansas State on Dec. 22 at 2 p.m. TV: ACC Network.