Brooklyn, N.Y. — For the second consecutive season, the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team completed an 0-2 effort in New York City, falling this time to Penn State by a final score of 85-64. Syracuse failed to rebound on Friday, losing the battle of the boards 56-30.
Syracuse came out sluggish on the offensive end for its second straight game. In the game’s first 12 minutes the Orange found itself in a 22-7 hole by missing shots and allowing Penn State to get on the boards.
The Penn State defense suffocated the Orange attack by playing physical on the perimeter and aggressive down low. Syracuse also found itself in foul trouble for the second consecutive game, as Marek Dolezaj picked up two quick ones while Bourama Sidibe had three in the first half. Elijah Hughes was able to avoid picking up fouls on Friday night, however.
Still, despite Syracuse’s limitations, solid three point shooting kept the game within single digits. SU trailed 34-27 at the intermission and were outworked on the glass to the tune of 30-14 at the break.
Out of the intermission, Bourama Sidibe picked up his fourth foul just 31 seconds in. Quincy Guerrier checked in and connected off an oop right away from Girard, allowing Syracuse to edge the Penn State gap 35-29. Girard then drew a foul on a 3-point attempt, to which he missed his first free throw of the season, going 2-for-3 from the line.
The Orange continued the run behind the spirit of Girard, who without fear attacked Penn State’s mountain of a man Mike Watkins to draw a foul. He’d make both to get Syracuse within two points. On the ensuing defensive possession, he stole the ball of the Penn State inbounds, outleted the ball to Hughes who threw it down on the other end to knot the game at 35.
Girard let out a, “let’s go!” with a choice word that you could probably guess in the middle.
Penn State fought back to regain its lead though and once it did, the Nittany Lions wouldn’t relinquish it. Continuing its effort on the glass behind Watkins, Penn State was able to build its lead back to double-digits. Bourama Sidibe fouled out with eight minutes to go in the game. Robert Braswell saw some brief action late.
Syracuse never seriously threatened down the stretch, and missed free throws eliminated any opportunity for the Orange to keep the game close. The Orange will go back to drawing board after falling to 4-3 on the season.
Hughes was the high point man for Syracuse with 19 while Buddy Boeheim added 14. Girard had 6 points and 7 assists.
Guerrier was the lone bright spot on the glass for Syracuse: He finished his night with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Syracuse finished the game shooting 33.3 percent from the floor and went 22-33 from the free throw line.
Mike Watkins had a double-double for Penn State with 15 points and 15 rebounds. The Nittany Lions out-rebounded Syracuse 56-30.
Syracuse returns home to take on Iowa in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. That game tips on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET and will air on ESPN2.