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Three takeaways from Syracuse basketball’s 71-59 loss to Buffalo

The Orange are out of the NCAA Tournament discussion at 7-4.

NCAA Basketball: Buffalo at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange fell to 7-4 on the season after the 14th-ranked Buffalo Bulls came into the Carrier Dome and won by a final score of 71-59. Syracuse played solid in the first half and built a four point lead at the intermission, but a bad showing on the offensive end in the second became its undoing.

The Orange had four players score in double-figures but only shot 42.1 percent from the floor as a team. The Orange also gave up 18 offensive rebounds to Buffalo and lost the battle on the boards 48-35.

At this point Syracuse certainly has a lot of ground to make up in the ACC and suddenly this 2018-19 Orange squad is looking all too similar to Jim Boeheim’s teams of recent memory.

Late game collapse

Tyus Battle knocked down a pair of free throws to close within two points of Buffalo with 4:25 remaining. Syracuse would only score two points the rest of the way. The Bulls went on an 8-0 run after that juncture and kept Syracuse at bay with its defense down the stretch.

The Orange only scored 23 points total in the second half.

Three point shooting reverts to the mean

At one juncture in the second half, Syracuse was shooting 50 percent from three on five of 10 from distance. Then Syracuse came back down to earth and went one for its next 11 from downtown. The Orange finished at 28.1 percent shooting from three, closer to its season average.

Syracuse came into the night shooting 29.7 percent from deep. Ideally you’d like your team to be at least 33.3 percent.

Long road ahead

As it stands right now, Syracuse is firmly out of the NCAA Tournament picture at 7-4 even with wins at Ohio State and against Georgetown. The Orange have dug itself another proverbial hole in the non-conference with major work to do in the ACC.

Syracuse will likely need at least 10 wins in the conference to make the tournament assuming it handles the remaining non-conference schedule. That’s all certainly possible but it’s looking like a long road ahead for Jim Boeheim’s club.