I suppose we all knew it wouldn’t last forever, but the Syracuse Orange’s 25-game undefeated streak came to an inglorious end Wednesday night at the hands of lowly Boston College. Syracuse was woeful on offense and gave up 11 Eagle three pointers (on 22 attempts) to fall in overtime, 62-59.
The loss drops the Orange to 25-1, (12-1 ACC) heading into their showdown with Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday.
Here’s my report card from SU’s stunning loss to BC:
Head of the Class
Boston College’s Defense vs. Syracuse’s Offense: Let’s not sugarcoat this - SU’s offense was brutal. Here are the raw numbers: 20-62 (32.3%) from the field, 2-12 (16.7%) from three, and 17-24 (70.8%) from the free throw line. How crazy is it when Syracuse’s FREE THROWS are what keeps them in a game?
BC is literally the worst team in the ACC. They haven’t beaten anyone of consequence other than Virginia Tech since November, yet they were able to knock off the #1 team in the nation on their home floor.
Jim Boeheim, noted basketball philosopher, summed it up best after the game, saying "At the end of the day, you just have to put the ball in the basket."
It doesn’t get any simpler than that. Now he has a couple of days to figure out how before a rematch with their biggest conference rival on the game’s biggest stage.
C.J. Fair: Fair simultaneously kept SU in the game and almost shot them out of it. He scored 20 of the team’s 59 points, but shot 7-23 (6-6 from the FT line) to do it. He also had 11 rebounds and 2 blocks while playing all 45 minutes. He seemed to be the only guy willing or able to consistently get a shot, and had to keep shooting despite the subpar results because most of his teammates were just kind of floating around out there.
After the game, Fair was asked about his performance. "I liked the shots I took," he said, not backing away from the question, "but I could have been more efficient. I got some good looks, but they just didn’t go in."
He isn’t lying.
"I didn’t think they were bad shots," Fair added, "they just weren’t falling."
I asked him about SU key offensive possession down the stretch, when they were down 58-57 coming out of a timeout with 28 seconds left in overtime. Fair drove the lane but missed a running lefty floater/hook hybrid, which just about sealed the deal.
"Coach was just saying ‘attack’ (in the timeout) and make the play. I just tried to get the best shot possible. It didn’t go in."
Tyler Ennis: Well, we know he’s human. Despite shooting a mortal 6-14 from the floor, Ennis had a nice game in my eyes. 14 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and only 2 turnovers in 43 hard minutes.
The "Iceman" missed a couple of shots at the end of regulation and overtime that frankly we’re used to seeing him make. But what can you do? As Boeheim himself said, "When you get in enough of these (close) games, there's going to be one where you don't make a play." Tonight was that night.
"Throwback" Uniforms: I liked them. I think the general consensus is that most SU fans did as well. The "Syracuse" script font is pretty much what I grew up on in the late 1980s and early 90s. I didn't even mind the mismatched orange jerseys and blue shorts, especially just for one game. But considering SU's recent record in alternate blue, orange, or platinum uniforms... maybe this gimmick needs to stay in the closet for a while.
Stay After School
Rakeem Christmas: 1-6 from the floor, including missing a potential game-winning hook shot at the end of regulation. He did have 11 rebounds and was 7-10 from the free throw line, but Boeheim said "I thought Rak would have a big game, but he was nonexistent."
Trevor Cooney: 2-8 from the floor, 1-6 from three. Zero rebounds, assists or steals in 40 minutes.
Baye Keita: 2 minutes, no impact of any kind. Apparently he wasn’t ready to return after sitting out with a sprained knee.
Referees: Inconsistent foul calls plagued the game. What was not a foul in the first half suddenly was in the second. This was a big topic of discussion on press row.
Final Grade: F
You can’t lose to the worst team in the league and get anything higher than an F. I’m sorry. That’s just how it is.
C.J. Fair postgame interview 2-19-14 (via Jeremy Ryan)
For a more detailed recap and commentary on the game and Jim Boeheim’s postgame news conference, visit my Twitter feed by clicking here.