A quick take on Syracuse’s 75-65 loss against Duke before an NCAA on campus record 35,642 fans in the Carrier Dome:
WHAT HAPPENED: A 9-1 run early in the second half for Duke turned a 43-39 Syracuse lead into a 48-44 deficit with 14:45 to go. Alex O’Connell found the shooting range during that run, hitting a 3-pointer while fouled and then adding another 3 to cap the run. Though the Orange would pull within two with 6:43 to go, Duke immediately responded, and an RJ Barrett dunk made it 65-56 with 4:49 to go put the game out of reach.
ANALYSIS: It was a tale of two halves for Syracuse. The Orange shot 37.8 percent in the first half including a workable 4-12 from downtown to take a 34-29 lead into half. But SU imploded in the second half, shooting just 1-11 from downtown and 30.3 percent, and missed seven critical free throws. Meanwhile, Duke shot just 3-15 from downtown in the first half, but found the range in the second, shooting 6 for 14. O’Connell was the biggest reason for Duke’s hot shooting, hitting five 3-pointers to finish with 20 points.
HERO: With Zion Williamson out with a knee sprain, Barrett played zone buster in the free throw area for Duke, and the results were devastating. He scored 30 points on 14 of 20 shooting from the field and also hit a pair of 3-pointers. When not scoring, he found his teammates, adding seven assists. For the Orange, Marek Dolezaj came off the bench for 10 points, five rebounds, three steals, a block and an assist before fouling out.
ZERO: Tyus Battle struggled through a 4-17 shooting performance, while Oshae Brissett was just 3-13 from the field. After a surprise win over No. 18 Louisville earlier in the week, Syracuse had an opportunity to pick up a resume win against a team that was missing the presumptive No. 1 pick in the upcoming 2019 NBA Draft. But SU’s offense went missing in the second half, and the schedule does not let up with three Quad 1 games still left on the schedule.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse is back on the road, playing at No. 8 North Carolina on Tuesday at 9 p.m.