A quick take on Syracuse’s 86-72 loss to Oklahoma State in the Preseason NIT Tipoff on Wednesday evening:
WHAT HAPPENED: Fouls and poor shooting derailed a date in New York City for the Orange. Syracuse took a 23-16 lead midway through the first half thanks to nice offensive movement. SU then went cold and Oklahoma State came alive. Isaac Likekeke hurt the Orange in transition and lead the Cowboys to a 12-point halftime lead. Despite Elijah Highes’ best efforts, Syracuse never really found its way back into the contest. Foul trouble plagued this team early in the second half, significantly hurting its ability to close the gap. Syracuse simply could not hit shots, shooting just 33 percent from the field and 25 percent from 3.
ANALYSIS: It’s early in the season, but does this look like an NCAA caliber team to you? Oklahoma State isn’t ranked, and is considered a middle of the pack Big 12 team, and easily dominated the Orange inside and in transition. It could be a critical loss as the Cowboys are one of four Power 6 teams the Orange play in its non-conference schedule. Wins against teams like Bucknell and Cornell aren’t going to make much of a dent when the committee is reviewing resumes in March, but a win over a team like Oklahoma State, currently 45th in KenPom’s rankings, could’ve been a solid boost. The other three critical Power 6 games SU will play before the end of the calendar year are Penn State in the second game of the Preseason NIT Tipoff, Iowa in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge and the Orange’s annual game against former Big East foe Georgetown. This loss only puts more pressure on those remaining three games.
HERO: Isaac Likekele led the way for OK State with 26 points on 8-11 shooting and 9-10 shooting from the line. Elijah Hughes was SU’s lone bright spot, leading all scorers with 28 points.
ZERO: SU’s starting backcourt of Buddy Boeheim and Joe Girard III combined for 5-22 shooting and 2-14 from beyond the arc.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse will play at 9 p.m. on Friday against Penn State, who was edged by Ole’ Miss, 74-72, in the opening game of the Preseason NIT Tipoff.