In a game that would have have greatly boosted the Syracuse Orange’s resume a ton, and most likely relieved any doubts regarding the place in the NCAA Tournament, the Orange came out connecting on both ends. A quick 4-0 lead showcased inside scoring and crisp passing — however, it didn’t last long.
Turnovers in the first half led to the Miami Hurricanes taking an eight-point lead into the break, down 36-28, a scenario Syracuse has found themselves in countless times this season.
However, the common Orange comeback story failed to come to fruition, as a pull-up three-pointer by John Gillon fell short, and Syracuse — once again — was unable to win an ACC tournament, losing 62-57.
Gillon’s shot looked eerily similar to the one verses Duke, but this time the magic wasn’t in the building.
The near comeback was impressive despite its disappointing ending, and Syracuse wouldn’t have been in the game without another quality offensive showing from Andrew White III.
White finished with a game-high 22 points on 6-12 shooting from the field. While his three-point shot was off in this one, he finished just 1-6 from beyond the arc, White’s ability to get in the lane resulted in 10 free throw attempts (he converted on nine of them).
White’s ability to get in the lane was a positive sign for the Orange, but unfortunately it didn’t rub off as much as it could have, as Syracuse finished 7-21 from three, a stat that could have been improved with more penetration to help free up outside shots.
This team reaches its peak when dribble penetration creates open looks for their shooters, but when the long-range shots are taken with three seconds left in the shot clock, they are bound to end with a clank off the rim.
Tyus Battle played the sidekick role for White in this one, finishing with 14 points, but without impressive performances from Tyler Lydon and John Gillon, the Orange’s chances at winning dropped as time went by. Gillon and Lydon combined for 13 points on 5-16 shooting, 11 points fewer than their average combined totals.
White came to play against the Hurricanes, but the lack of production from Lydon and Gillon doomed Syracuse late. Dillon eventually made his presence felt with a three in the final minute to cut Miami’s lead to two, but his missed game-tying three caused his performance to stand out negatively instead of positively.
Syracuse now has to wait until Sunday for them to hear their fate. A win over Miami would have made things more comfortable for themselves and their fans, but now the stress of making it to the Big Dance weighs over their heads for four days.
Syracuse has built a resume that showcases three top 25 wins, but a disappointing RPI could haunt them for months. There’s nothing else Syracuse can do to improve its resume; they just need to hope the committee believes they are a team that could dance its way to Phoenix.