Colgate accomplished something they haven’t done since 1962, defeating Syracuse 100-85 on Saturday night. Here are the most important takeaways the first loss for Syracuse this season:
#1: Syracuse reveals a major weakness
It only took games against two mid-major programs in Drexel and Colgate to discover the achilles heel for the Orange this season: Their defense.
And in particular, their perimeter defense. Syracuse allowed Colgate to attempt 43 3-point shots, the most ever attempted them. The Raiders connected for 17 of them en route to a 100 point outing.
The Raiders methodically worked the ball through the high post and were easily able to get good looks against a scrambling defense.
Syracuse also struggled in the first half in its second game against Drexel, going into halftime trailing.
“It was not one or two players,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. “Everybody has a piece of that. When you play a team with that many good shooters, you have to get there. And we didn’t. That was really the game.”
#2: Second chance opportunities continue to be a problem
The Orange allowed 44 rebounds against Colgate, 19 on the offensive end in giving up 18 second chance points. SU was ultimately -10 in rebounding against a smaller Colgate team.
Even with centers Jesse Edwards and Frank Anselem continuing to improve on the interior, Saturday provided a glimpse of growing pains for the big men. Colgate simply beat Orange big men on the boards, and allowed too many second chance perimeter looks.
“They just wanted it more than us,” Syracuse forward Jimmy Boeheim said about the rebounding deficit.
#3: Next week has become even more important for Syracuse
Ideally, coach Boeheim would have liked to go into the Bahamas next week for the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament undefeated. But Saturday’s loss has stalled momentum early on.
“It’s a quick turn around,” Syracuse guard Buddy Boeheim said. “We have to have really good practices, watch film, and turn around and get ready for some really good games.”
Beginning Wednesday, the Orange compete in the three day Bahamas tournament, starting with VCU. All teams in the tournament are high-majors, a departure from Jim Boeheim’s typical scheduling in November.
It will be a good indicator of whether Syracuse is a legitimate NCAA Tournament team.
“We have to bounce back,” Jimmy Boeheim said. “It will be a test of our resilience and how we can adapt. From there, it’s three games in three days which is a challenge in itself.”