A quick take on Syracuse’s 73-44 loss to Illinois in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge:
WHAT HAPPENED: After a pair of free throws from Judah Mintz pulled the Orange to within 48-37 with 8:36 left, the Fighting Illini took complete control. Illinois went on a 12-0 run capped by a Coleman Hawkins layup with 5:51 to go that made it 60-37. SU could never get it going offensively, shooting just 27.8 percent from the field and 5-17 from downtown. While Illinois was not much better (35.8 percent), it also shot the ball an additional 13 times and hit six more 3s.
ANALYSIS: Syracuse’s last opportunity for a signature non-conference win evaporated quickly. The Orange kept pace for most of the first half, trailing just 26-23 at the under 4 timeout in the first half, and went into intermission down just 30-23. But the second half was a different story, as the Orange was outscored 43-21. Any hope of an NCAA Tournament bid has faded, and it seems for the second straight season, the biggest question will be if the Orange can eek out an NIT bid, or if they are heading for a losing record for just the second time in Jim Boeheim’s long tenure at SU.
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HERO: Hawkins, RJ Melendez and Terrence Shannon Jr. combined for 47 of Illinoi’s 73 points. For the Orange, Jesse Edwards finished with 9 points, 17 rebounds and 2 blocks.
ZERO: Skyy Clark went 0-10 from the field and 0-7 from 3-point land for just 2 points. Syracuse’s starting backcourt of Judah Mintz (3-16 from the field, 9 points) and Joe Girard (0-3 from the field, 0 points in 20 minutes), struggled significantly, as the Orange had zero players in double figures.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse opens ACC play when it travels to Notre Dame on Dec. 3 at 12 p.m. TV: ESPN2.
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