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Report Card: Syracuse Wrecked by Georgia Tech, 67-62

Georgia Tech may be the "Ramblin’ Wreck", but it was Syracuse who was wrecked Tuesday night.

Hey Karl, do you see what I have to work with here?
Hey Karl, do you see what I have to work with here?
Rich Barnes
I don’t even know what to say anymore.

On senior night, when family, teammates and fans alike gathered to salute C.J. Fair and Baye Keita in the last home game of their careers, the Syracuse Orange laid a big fat orange egg against the lowly Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The final score was 67-62, but judging from fan reaction it may as well have been a 30 point loss. It was that bad. Well, not Boston College bad, but close.

Here’s my report card of the carnage I witnessed from courtside. The things I do for you people.

Head of the Class

C.J. Fair: Well, this one was easy. Setting the loss aside for a moment, at least Fair went out on an individual high note. He scored a career high-tying 28 points (on a respectable 12-25 shooting) and sparked a second half run to get SU back in it late. He also added 8 rebounds. Unfortunately, I think game after game of piling up those minutes (another 40 tonight) has affected Fair in a major way. It just isn’t fair (sorry) to ask him to play that much each and every night without any rest or help.

“I just think we need that little spark to get us going,” said Fair, ever the optimist, in the locker room after the game. “If we get that, we’ll be fine. We just have to impose our will.”

Passing Grades

Tyler Ennis: Speaking of help, Ennis was it. Tyler had 18 points of his own, along with 7 assists, in an effort to give Fair some sort of support. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough, since the rest of the team could only manage a meager 16 points. That’s 16 points among five other players, each of whom played a minimum of 16 minutes.

Stay After School

Everyone Else: How about we let the stats do the talking…

SU field goal percentage: 39.1% (25-64)

SU three point percentage: 29.4% (5-17)

SU free throw percentage: 43.8% (7-16)! Are you kidding me?

“I missed a couple. Everybody missed a couple,” said Fair, stating the obvious. “I always believe free throw shooting is contagious.” So this is apparently the basketball equivalent of malaria.

Rakeem Christmas: 3 points on 1 field goal and 1 free throw in 28 minutes. 10 rebounds, though.

Trevor Cooney: 1-8 from three, 3-12 overall. 7 points. “I took a bunch of shots today that I’ve made,” he said after the game. “You just got to keep shooting. Those shots will fall.”

Baye Keita: 1 point in 16 minutes.

Georgia Tech: 47% from the floor, 18 assists, 8 blocks, shredded the Orange press like it was tissue paper.

I could go on, but I think you get it.

Final Grade: F. What else could it be?

These guys are in trouble. They can’t score, and Jim Boeheim repeatedly said as much after the game. Tyler Roberson isn’t ready to play meaningful minutes – and that’s not just me saying it. Boeheim made it pretty clear in his news conference. They are losing to literally the worst teams in the league, at home no less. I swear it looked like Fair and Ennis were playing two on five for most of the game. It was bad. Bad bad bad bad bad.

On the bright side, SU also lost four of its last five at the end of last season, and ended up making it to the Big East championship game and the Final Four. So, there’s still hope. But it’s flickering like a candle in the wind. Let’s hope they can get it together before someone comes along and blows it out.

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C.J. Fair postgame interview 3-4-14 (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.