A quick take on Syracuse’s frustrating 88-87 loss to Miami on Wednesday evening:
WHAT HAPPENED: In what has been a common theme for Syracuse lately, the Orange struggled to defend down the stretch, missed key free throws and had issues with ball security in losing their second ACC game of the season. Syracuse rode outstanding shooting and excellent ball movement to a 44-30 halftime lead. But that quickly evaporated early in the second half, as Miami closed the gap with a 12-2 run to pull within 46-42 just four minutes out of intermission. The Hurricanes would take the lead for good after a pair of Anthony Walker free throws with 12:16 left gave them a 56-55 lead. Despite the struggles, SU was still within striking distance, down 77-74 with 1:18 left, but Syracuse couldn’t get the stops it needed and two late 3-pointers from Cole Swider came too late.
ANALYSIS: Syracuse’s defense, especially in clutch moments, continues to be a cause for concern. After a 3-pointer from Cole Swider pulled SU to within 3 points with 1:18 to go, the Hurricanes had possession five more times in the next 78 seconds. Syracuse was able to get a defensive stop on exactly zero of the five possessions, on par with SU’s 204th ranked defensive efficiency according to KenPom. Free throws were an issue once again, with Buddy Boeheim missing the front end of a 1-and-1 that had the potential to pull the Orange to within two. Instead, SU lost momentum after Kameron McGusty’s layup off Boeheim’s missed FT gave the Hurricanes a 75-69 lead with 2:24 left. Overall, Syracuse went just 12-18 from the line, with Jimmy Boeheim being a top culprit (2-5 at the stripe). And much like SU’s loss against Virginia, Syracuse couldn’t solve Miami’s press as they committed 19 turnovers.
HERO: Jesse Edwards chased a triple double, with 22 points, 8 blocks and 7 blocks before fouling out. Still, he was also on track for a quadruple double if you count his team-high six turnovers. Joe Girard (26) and Swider (20) were also key contributors. For Miami, Moore led the way with 25 points while McGusty chipped in 19.
ZERO: The Boeheim brothers, who were SU’s chief sources of offense against Virginia, struggled against Miami. The duo combined for just 16 points on 4 of 14 shooting.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse travels to play Wake Forest on Jan. 8 at 2 p.m. Syracuse travels to play Wake Forest on Jan. 8 at 2 p.m. The Demon Deacons are 12-3 overall and 2-2 in the ACC, and coming off a win against Florida State.