A quick take on Syracuse’s 80-77 loss at Florida State on Saturday afternoon:
WHAT HAPPENED: With Syracuse leading 69-66 with 2:36 to go, MJ Walker hit a 3-pointer while being fouled by Joe Girard III, and added a free throw to give the Seminoles a one-point lead. Patrick Williams made layup plus RaiQuan Gray’s two made free throws with 1:15 left gave FSU a 76-73 lead, and the Orange couldn’t get any defensive stops when they needed it as the Seminoles held on for the win. It was a spirited comeback for the Orange, who trailed 57-49 with 10:40 to go. But SU didn’t have enough big plays in its tank to complete the upset.
ANALYSIS: When the the 2019-20 season is in the books, this will be the game that will have essentially ended any hope for Syracuse making the NCAA Tournament. Coming into Saturday afternoon, the Orange desperately needed a signature win against the eighth-ranked Seminoles to plead their case to the NCAA Selection committee, followed by another likely needed win against No. 5 Louisville on the road. Instead, the Orange currently stand at 14-11 overall and 7-7 in conference, and their attention should turn toward qualifying for the NIT, which is not a given because Syracuse only has two more home games (Georgia Tech and UNC) and four more road games. This particular Syracuse team has shown that it’s good enough (and mentally tough enough) to hang with any of the conference elite, but simply doesn’t have enough talent to put them over the top and pull off upsets.
HERO: Elijah Hughes (25 points), Girard (22 points, seven rebounds) and Quincy Guerrier (13 points) provided a majority of the Orange offense. The Seminoles had a balanced attack as usual, with Walker and Williams combining for 33 points.
ZERO: Buddy Boeheim turned in his worst game as a college athlete, going scoreless on seven shots (0-5 from 3). This was his second off game after he turned in a 10 point performance against NC State on 4-15 shooting.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Orange plays at No. 5 Louisville on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. TV: ESPN.