The Syracuse Orange have been waiting for Oshae Brissett to find his rhythm, and he finally did — but it didn’t matter.
Brissett tied his career high in points with 25 against the North Carolina State Wolfpack, but the Orange couldn’t get the stops they needed and took a devastating blow to their NCAA Tournament chances.
Just like the Orange, the Wolfpack are a bubble team too, so this was a game the Orange needed if they wanted to feel confident heading down to Miami this Saturday. It was a back and forth battle between the two sides, but Brissett’s heroics on offense weren’t enough to make up for the missing Syracuse defense.
Brissett got the crowd on its feet with a couple electrifying dunks, but it was his ability to hit his jump shot that led to him breaking out. Brissett shot 4-7 from three to add to his 8-13 overall shooting from the field, as his clutch three-point shooting kept the Orange in it late—unfortunately, it wasn’t enough.
With Frank Howard and Tyus Battle struggling from the field, the Orange relied on Brissett to make up it on offense. With turnovers being the story of the game, Brissett got out in transition which allowed him to get some easy looks around the rim. It’s always nice when Brissett sees his three-ball falling, but it’s his ability to score around the rim that makes him the special player he is.
“I felt like I was just picking my spots, and my teammates trusted me to get those shots going,” Brissett said regarding his hot shooting. “It was kind of a tough night for both Tyus and Frank, so I felt like I should step in there and try and help contribute.”
The Orange have been waiting for all three players of their “big three” to find their rhythm in the same game, and it’s usually Brissett who struggles when the dynamic backcourt is feeling it. However, the Wolfpack weren’t able to contain Brissett in this one, but the usually reliable Battle and Howard couldn’t give him the help he needed.
It’s usually the Syracuse defense that carriers the Orange in games this year, but this one was different. The 15 turnovers are a real concern for the Orange, but their offense looked improved and the ball was moving for the most part.
It’s rare for the Orange to shoot 52 percent from the field, but even a good shooting night isn’t enough to win in the ACC these days. The Orange have five games left, three of which are against top 25 teams, so how do they find a way into the big dance from here?
Losing to a bubble team sure doesn’t help, and with so many tough opponents coming up, the Orange need to play near perfect basketball to end the year. A few top 25 wins would be nice, but they can’t be had if Brissett doesn’t make night’s like these into an often occurrence.