Syracuse gets caught flat-footed by Duke

Nov 30, 2021; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange head coach Jim Boeheim reacts to a call against the Indiana Hoosiers during the first half at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Visiting #6 Duke on Saturday, Syracuse came out flat and paid the price. The Orange (9-10, 3-5 ACC) gave up the first eight points of the day, crawled back within one, but got their doors blown off for the next 24 minutes. When the Blue Devils (15-3, 5-2) eased off the gas, they were up 31 points and cruised to a 79-59 win.

SU strung up nine straight points to draw within 16-15 with a little under eight minutes in the opening half. Duke replied with eight consecutive markers to restore order, then closed the half with a 9-2 burst for a 36-22 halftime advantage.

The Orange got within 13 points on a couple occasions shortly after intermission, but the Devils hung another 8-0 streak on them to grab a 50-29 lead just over five minutes into the half. For good measure, Duke piled on another 8-0 burst less than three minutes later for a 60-33 lead and the remaining dozen minutes were academic.

It was simply a failure for SU on both ends of the floor, as they made just 35.3 percent of their shots, including a woeful 5-of-29 three-pointers. Meanwhile, Duke connected on 47.6 percent of their field goal attempts, including 14 three-pointers.

Jesse Edwards and Jimmy Boeheim led the Syracuse offense with a dozen points apiece. Edwards grabbed nine rebounds (five offensive) and gathered four steals, as well. Cole Swider chipped in with 11 points, nine coming in the second half. Buddy Boeheim missed his first ten shots of the game en route to a 2-for-15 day from the field, including just 1-of-10 from three. He finished with seven points.

Four different players had 15 points for the Blue Devils – Paolo Banchero, A.J. Griffin (five three-pointers), Wendell Moore Jr., and Mark Williams. To go with those point totals, Banchero grabbed 13 rebounds and Moore handed out eight assists. Joey Baker was a fifth Duke player in double figures, adding 11 points to their side.

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  • Burn the game tape.
  • The Orange looked completely unprepared to face an aggressive defense at the jump. The team was completely stagnant and ended up 1-for-3 from the field with four turnovers before calling a 30-second time out with 3:22 off the clock. SU would miss three more shots before finally scoring again on a Jesse Edwards putback dunk.
  • Entering the game, Buddy Boeheim had averaged 22.3 points per game in his last three outings, including shooting 48.9 percent from the field and 47.8 percent from three.
  • Symir Torrence logged double-digit minutes for the eighth time in nine games and over 20 minutes for the third time this season. In those nine outings, he has 32 assists and just seven turnovers. There is no reason to think Jim Boeheim will shy away from using Torrence as part of a three-guard lineup if the leg he tweaked late in the game is healthy.
  • Torrence has been receiving minutes recently at the expense of Cole Swider, who is shooting 6-for-17 overall and only 2-of-11 from long range in the last couple games while also committing a half dozen turnovers.
  • Swider and Jimmy Boeheim combined for a mere six rebounds today, part of the reason the Orange finished at a 45-35 rebounding deficit. Boeheim had grabbed 7.6 boards per game in his last eight and Swider 7.3 in his last six, including just a pair against Pittsburgh. The duo need to contribute more on the glass.


SU will close their season series with Pittsburgh on Tuesday night. The Panthers (7-12, 2-6 before Clemson) have lost five of their last seven games, including Saturday night’s 75-48 drubbing at Clemson.

During that cold streak by Pitt, Syracuse defeated them at home on January 11, 77-61. Buddy Boeheim paced the Orange with 24 points in the game while Jimmy Boeheim added 18. Jamarius Burton, Mouhamadou Gueye, and Femi Odukale each had 14 points to pace the Panthers in the first game against Syracuse.

John Hugley 15.8 points and 8.1 rebounds per game leads Pitt. Burton averages 12.8 points per game while Odukele adds 11.7 points.

Tuesday night’s action will tip off at 8:00pm Eastern. The ACC Network will televise the game.

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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.