Well that sucked.
All through the preseason we heard about how frisky Cleveland State was and how this looked like a bad game for the Orange. Looks like "they" were right. The Orange lost 72-69 on the shot you see above, although it wouldn't be totally accurate to say that buzzer-beater was the real reason SU lost the game.
Eric Devendorf led the Orange with 17 points on 6-15 shooting. Jonny Flynn added 16 and 5 assists but also turned the ball over four times. Harris and Onuaku also added 11. The Orange shot 54% as a team to Cleveland State's 44%. So what the hell happened?
Cleveland State deserved to win that game and the basketball gods made sure it happened. In rather dramatic fashion mind you, but those gods got it done.
Cleveland State won this game on pure effort. They crashed the boards harder (and out rebounded Syracuse overall 34-33). They went after loose balls harder. They were relentless on defense. They attacked the basket harder. At the end of the day, Syracuse managed to tie it and lost on a fluke shot, but had they played with the same "pants on fire" attitude that Cleveland State did, we aren't talking about a punch-in-the-gut loss here.
"You cannot win against good competition when you put yourself in that position early in the game."
"We just didn't go get it," Boeheim said. "I don't think the effort was there we didn't go after loose balls."
Cuse Country sums it up best:
Turnovers, missed free throws, blah blah blah — people will talk about that but that wasn’t the problem. Play defense and hit the boards, and this game isn’t close. We shot 54% from the field, clearly our play with the ball in our hands was not the problem. SU only scored 69 because Cleveland St walked the ball up every possession and spent 20 seconds winding down the clock. The problem is that whenever Cleveland needed a wide open jump shot or took the ball into the lane in a key moment, we let them have it. And if they missed, they got the offensive rebound.
The Three Idiots wonder where Andy Rautins went?
I love Andy Rautins, but tonight he played a game that gives his detractors all the ammunition they'd ever want. On offense he was a one dimensional shooter that didn't make any shots, on defense he was invisible. In addition, 1-3 from the free throw stripe isn't doing anyone any favors.
See extended remarks from Beoheim here.
The Daily Orange recaps this stunning loss
Listen, if you can, to Cedric Jackson discuss his miracle shot..
Had the Orange lost this game straight up, it would have been disappointing already based on the way they played. Include the buzzer beater after the Orange had battled back to tie the game, well, that hurt. SU has been struggling lately against inferior competition and it caught up with them.
Oh, Cleveland State, when you do eventually make the NCAA Tournament...you're welcome.