A quick take on Syracuse’s frustrating 81-75 loss to North Carolina on Tuesday night:
WHAT HAPPENED: After an Alan Griffin jumper made it 71-70 with 1:43 left, Armando Bacot scored four points in a 6-0 run to put the game out of reach. Bacot’s second basket, a rebound of an RJ Davis airballed 3-pointer was a microcosm for the night, as bigger, stronger Tar Heels scored at will in the low post. It was a game of runs as the Orange trailed by as many as 10 in the first half, and led by as many as five in the second.
ANALYSIS: Syracuse came in as the better outside shooting team, and North Carolina the more physical inside team. Both of those narratives played out on Tuesday. Syracuse shot the ball well (though not quite well enough), staying in it by hitting 10 of 29 3-pointers and shooting 47 percent from the field compared to 5-24 shooting from downtown and 40 percent shooting from the Tar Heels. But predictably, the Orange, again without Bourama Sidibe, was -18 on the glass, and surrendered 42 points in the paint and 24 second chance points.
HERO: Buddy Boeheim scored 18 points, all in the first half, as he personally turned a 10-point Orange deficit into a 40-40 halftime tie, but he was silenced in the second half. Quincy Guerrier continued his season-long dominance, with 23 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks.
ZERO: The Orange badly needs help inside. With Frank Anselem out at least two more weeks and Sidibe apparently unavailable for the foreseeable future, Jesse Edwards saw the floor, but was ineffective in his spot duty. Against bigger teams like North Carolina, the Orange will continue to struggle with Marek Dolzaj playing the majority of minutes at center.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse will travel to Pittsburgh to play the Panthers on Jan. 16 at noon. The Orange lost to Pitt last week at the Carrier Dome 63-60 after leading for nearly the entire game. TV: ACC Network.