The Syracuse Orange (18-10, 8-7 in ACC) collapsed late and suffered a brutal 66-52 loss to the Pittsburgh Panthers (19-7, 8-6 in ACC) Saturday afternoon, despite a scoring surge from freshman Tyler Lydon.
Lydon, who is typically the first man off the bench for the Orange, didn't score his first basket until seven minutes into the game – and proceeded to shoot lights out from there on out. The 6' 8" big man finished the game with 21 points on eight-for-12 shooting from the field, and four-for-eight from behind the arc.
The 21 points and 66.7 percent shooting are both season highs for the freshman, who averages only 9.4 points-per-game. In addition to his dominant scoring, Lydon also chipped in with two steals, one block, and one rebound.
"You know the guys found me a lot of good positions to score the basketball and I was able to knock down some shots," Lydon said after the game
While Lydon certainly came to play, it sure didn't look like Syracuse's starting five did. Michael Gbinije (10 points), Trevor Cooney (3), Malachi Richardson (6), Tyler Roberson (0), and DaJuan Coleman (8) combined for only 27 points on an ugly nine-for-36 shooting from the field (Three-for-18 from three-point range).
While Lydon shot the ball the best he has all year, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said after the game the Orange can't win games with just a single player shooting well, they need multiple players to hit shots if they want to be in position to win.
"We have to make some shots for us to be successful," Boehiem said. "The last game, Trevor shot it well and this game Tyler Lydon shot it well. And we have to have at least two or three guys to make shots. When you don't make shots, sooner or later it just wears you down."
In addition to the poor shooting from Syracuse's starting five, the team as a whole struggled on the boards once again – allowing Pittsburgh to dominate the glass en route to a 40-to-20 rebounding advantage. Panthers Michael Young (13) and Jamel Artis (11) led the rebounding charge for Pittsburgh.
Syracuse, which is back to being on the bubble coming off back-to-back losses to Louisville and Pittsburgh, will look to bounce back against NC State next Saturday and improve their NCAA Tournament résumé.
If you want to relive the pain and frustration of of Syracuse's 66-52 loss to Pittsburgh, watch some highlights of the game here: