A quick take on Syracuse’s 71-70 loss against Clemson on Tuesday evening:
WHAT HAPPENED: After a Joe Girard III 3-pointer put Syracuse up 70-67 with 1:35 to play, Syracuse appeared in control after Girard stole the ball from Aamir Simms with 40 seconds left and the Orange up 70-69. But Girard missed a layup on SU’s ensuing possession, Elijah Hughes missed on an in-bounds play, and Clemson’s Khavon Moore corralled the rebound as the Tigers sprinted up court. With two seconds left, Clyde Trapp hit a game winning layup, snapping Syracuse’s five-game win streak. It was particularly disappointing for SU, who led by as many as 10 points in the second half.
ANALYSIS: The game’s final plays were certainly affected by the foul trouble of Syracuse big men Marek Dolezaj and Bourama Sidibe, who both fouled out. As a result, Clemson was +10 on the boards, including 11 offensive rebounds. Freshman reserve Jessie Edwards played a mostly ineffective six minutes, and while Quincy Guerrier finished with six points and five rebounds, he also took a pair of 3-pointers despite having only hit three all season. As a team, the Orange was not particularly sharp from downtown. Though Buddy Boeheim continued his torrid play as of late, hitting 4 of 9 from beyond the arc, everyone not named Boeheim was a combined 4-18.
HERO: Hughes and Boeheim each had 22 points, accounting for a majority of the Syracuse offense. Hughes, coming off a season-low 10 points against Pitt on Saturday, was much sharper against the Tigers, hitting 4 of 8 shots from inside the arc (2-8 from downtown) and got to the line nine times.
ZERO: Sidibe fouled out in his 21 minutes of play, posting only two points and four rebounds. Dolezaj was more effective in his 26 minutes, with eight points and three rebounds, but the two of them cannot be in foul trouble at the same time for SU to continue to win games.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse lacks a signature win on its tenuous NCAA resume, and will have a golden opportunity for one when it hosts No. 9 Duke on Saturday at the Carrier Dome at 8 p.m. TV: ESPN.