A quick take on Syracuse’s deflating 97-88 defeat against Duke Saturday evening, in front of 31,458 the largest college basketball crowd of the season at the Dome:
WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse (13-9, 6-5) suffered its second-straight ACC defeat, falling behind late in the first half and the Orange were never able to cut the lead below double-digits until under 4:00 to play against the No. 9 Blue Devils (18-3, 8-2). Duke was hot shooting (57%), and got point production from eight of its nine players that saw playing time led by big man Vernon Carey Jr., (26-points) and reserve guard Alex O’Connell who hurt the ‘Cuse with timely baskets among his 11-points.
ANALYSIS: Duke’s man defense put consistent pressure on the SU guards making it a frustrating evening for Buddy Boeheim and Joe Girard until midway through the second-half. The two combined to shoot just 5-of-17 from three range. Marek Dolezaj was effective driving the lane and battling under the basket, leading the Orange with 22-points.
HERO: Duke’s mammoth center Carey Jr. was virtually unstoppable down low showing agility and strength. The freshman finished with his game-high 26-points and 16-rebounds against SU’s big men Bourama Sidibe and Quincy Guerrier (both fouled out), and Dolezaj.
ZERO: The Orange struggled shooting against the Duke defense, especially from beyond the three-point line finishing 6-of-25 as a team, including a 1-for-9 night for Elijah Hughes (21-points).
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse has week off before continuing its current three-game homestand hosting Wake Forest next Sat., Feb. 8. The Orange won at Wake Forest last season, and SU is 7-1 all-time versus the Demon Deacons in ACC play. Wake Forest (10-11, 3-8) knocked off Clemson 56-44 Saturday night. Game Time: 8:00 ET. TV: ACC Network.