Instant Juice: Syracuse 71, Duke 85

Dec 16, 2020; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange head coach Jim Boeheim reacts to a play against the Northeastern Huskies during the first half at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

A quick take on Syracuse’s 85-71 loss against Duke on Monday evening:

WHAT HAPPENED: Duke throttled the Orange in the first half, rolling up 52 points before intermission.  The Blue Devils found open shot after open shot, piling up assists on their first 16 field goals and shooting 62.5 percent from the field before the break, including making ten three-pointers.  The SU offense never truly got into gear, save for a 10-0 run in the waning minutes to make the score semi-respectable.

ANALYSIS: Syracuse was in the game for about seven minutes.  The Blue Devils hit three triples to log an early 9-2 run to take the lead for good, but the Orange hung around for a few minutes before giving up an 18-2 run to fall into a 36-14 chasm.  SU ran off a quick 8-0 run early in the half, but that only got them within 14, the closest they would get the rest of the way.

The game showed a contrast between the two teams.  Duke employed a team game on offense throughout the contest, piling up 27 assists on their 34 field goals.  In a sharp contrast, the Orange only had 10 assists on their 28 baskets as their offensive attack frequently broke down into one-on-one play.

HERO(ES): Duke’s Jeremy Roach, D.J. Steward, and Mark Williams each controlled the game in different ways.  Roach had all 14 of his points in the opening half, including making four triples, and handed out seven assists.  Steward also made four long-range shots as he piled up a team-high 21 points.  Williams was force inside, logging 18 points and 11 rebounds for his first career double-double.

» Related: Jim Boeheim change his rotation? Don’t count on it.

ZERO: SU’s 2-3 zone defense was shredded regularly, particularly in the first half.   Duke finished the game shooting over 53 percent from the field and almost 45 percent from deep.  The Blue Devils cooling off, particularly from long range (only 3-for-11 in the second half), was the only thing preventing them from cracking the century mark.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Orange are off until Saturday, when they have a matinee matchup at Georgia Tech.  The Yellow Jackets (11-8, 7-6) have a modest two-game win streak and face Virginia Tech on Tuesday evening before Saturday’s noon tip against SU.

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About Jim Stechschulte 894 Articles
A 1996 graduate of Syracuse University, Jim has reported on Syracuse sports for the Syracuse University Alumni Club of Southern California on nearly a decade. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by He currently resides in Syracuse.