A quick take on Syracuse’s 80-68 loss to Colgate on Tuesday evening at the JMA Wireless Dome:
WHAT HAPPENED: For the first time in back-to-back seasons since 1960-61 and 1961-62, Syracuse lost consecutive games to its upstate rival, Colgate. The Raiders diced up the SU 2-3 zone, hitting 19 of 38 shots from downtown, many of them on open looks, and outrebounded the much larger Orange while racing out to a 14-point halftime lead. The Orange didn’t adjust in the second half, as Tucker Richardson shot 7 for 11 from downtown en route to a game-high 27 points. While much of the attention was on Syracuse’s lackluster defense, its offense was actually just as important of a storyline, as Syracuse shot just 38.7 percent from the field and 8 for 25 from beyond the arc. Faced with trying to rally to have a shot to win the game, Jim Boeheim predictably tightened his rotation, going with a three guard lineup of Symir Torrence (25 minutes), Judah Mintz (36) and Joe Girard (33) for large stretches of time. Also of note was Jesse Edwards barely touching the ball. His six shot attempts were dwarfed by Girard (15), Mintz (16) and Williams (12).
ANALYSIS: The Orange’s strength of schedule is not as good as it was last year, and their path to the NCAA Tournament becomes razor thin with what may end up as a quadrant 3 loss at the end of the year. Still, while Syracuse’s loss to a Patriot League team certainly does not look good, keep in mind that in the SWAC/Pac 12 matchups this year, Grambling State, Texas Southern and Prairie View defeated Colorado, Arizona State and Washington. Elsewhere in the ACC, Louisville lost to Appelachian State and Gardner-Webb only lost by six to No. 1 UNC, so certainly SU is not alone in losing/playing close games against mid-majors.
HERO: After struggling in SU’s opener against Lehigh, Benny Williams made more of an effort to get involved offensively, and finished with 17 points and a team-high 8 rebounds. Mintz led SU with 20 points on 8 of 16 shooting from the field, but needs to do more to get his teammates involved (just two assists). Edwards added a game-high five blocks, but needs to be fed the ball more.
ZERO: Girard fired early and often, attempting 12 3-pointers, but hitting only four of them. As a whole, Syracuse didn’t move the ball, assisting on just nine of their 24 makes. In contrast, Colgate assisted on 22 of its 28 shots.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse returns to action on Nov. 19 against Northeastern for a 2 p.m. tip. TV: ACC Network Extra.