The Syracuse Orange missed their first nine threes on Saturday, and despite finishing 8-of-30 from beyond the arc, it wasn’t enough against an Ole Miss Rebels team that shot 46.9 percent from distance (15-for-32). Ole Miss beat Syracuse 85-80 at the Carrier Dome, eliminating the Orange from the NIT.
While SU wasn’t victimized by Rebels big man Sebastian Saiz, as assumed, Deandre Burnett got his points (19), and the patented out-of-nowhere performance by Terence Davis (30 points) was what really did the Orange in. Davis hit 6-of-7 threes, despite being a 31.1-percent three-point shooter on the season.
Syracuse’s 2-3 zone was carved up throughout the game, but in the second half, particularly. SU allowed 49 points in the final 20 minutes. A flurry of made threes helped kill off an Orange rally in the final few minutes. The Orange took a couple leads and stayed tight throughout. But the lackluster start and lack of consistent three-point shooting were too much to overcome.
For those dissecting this one after the fact, perhaps some of the missed late free throws (by both Tyler Lydon and John Gillon) come up, and even more glaring were the questionable foul calls on the Orange while pressing defensively. Alas, SU couldn’t hit enough shots, so they fell in a shootout.
Taurean Thompson struggled on defense again, but shot 8-of-11 from the floor to collect 18 points. Andrew White also scored 18 in his final collegiate game, but on 4-of-11 shooting (and 3-for-9 from distance). Tyus Battle may have been SU’s most consistent scorer in the second half, hitting some big shots and going for 17 on the day. Tyler Lydon also added 15 of his own, to pair with 14 rebounds — though his impact was only truly felt sporadically.
So that’s it. Syracuse finishes 19-15, with a second round loss in the NIT. Among regular rotation players, Andrew White III, John Gillon, Tyler Roberson and Dajuan Coleman are all end their college careers. The one bright side to today’s loss is that the freshmen (Battle, Thompson) showed themselves well capable of carrying this team when the 2017-18 season begins.