An on-campus record crowd of 35,462 watched as the Syracuse Orange lost to the Duke Blue Devils by a final score of 75-65. Here are my takeaways from the game:
A moment for Jorge Jimenez
A moment of silence was held in memory of Jorge Jimenez in the Carrier Dome before the game. As Dan Shulman and Jay Bilas opened the broadcast discussing the accident and offering their condolences you could see the emotion on the faces of Jim and Juli Boeheim as they were shown before the game.
Chukwu Engaged on the Glass
Pascal Chukwu was active around the rim from the opening tip. He had four offensive rebounds (and kept another possession alive) in the opening half and scored on two shots helping the Orange to a 34-29 halftime lead. Overall Syracuse finished with 19 offensive rebounds but the Blue Devils kept the Orange from converting those into points as the game wore on.
Act One: The RJ Barrett Show
With Zion Williamson in street clothes it was Barrett who stepped up. The Ontario native must have soaked up the #CanadasCollegeTeam vibes as he hit on 8 of 11 shots in the first half and ended the game with 30 points on 14 for 20 shooting to go along with seven assists. Barrett showed why he was rated the top recruit last year and his late 3-pointer stopped all of Syracuse’s momentum.
Act Two: The Alex O’Connell Hour
In the second half, Duke did a better job of penetrating the zone and it led to open looks for O’Connell who hit four threes in the first ten minutes of the second half and helped Duke push into the lead. O’Connell hit six of nine shots from the field on his way to a career high of 20 points.
Dolezaj adds a spark off the bench
Maybe it was the courtside presence of Rob Gronkowski that motivaed Marek Dolezaj to spike his 1st-half dunk but he provided Syracuse a lift off the bench and was aggressive looking for his offense. Marek had 10 points 5 rebounds and 3 steals before fouling out with less than two minutes to go.
Everybody on your feet!— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) February 24, 2019
The @Cuse_MBB crowd was jumping when @MarekDolezaj made these back-to-back sweet plays against Duke. #MustSeeACC #OrangeNation@NewYorkLife #GoodAtLife #ad pic.twitter.com/iTUYxDFxeV
Where did the shooting go?
In the first nineteen minutes of the second half, Syracuse failed to make a shot outside the lane. The Orange didn’t play great defense in the half, but the reality is that the offense is what led to the loss. After a strong first half, Frank Howard went scoreless in the second. Tyus Battle shot 4 for 17 for the game while being hounded by Tre Jones. Unfortunately for the Orange neither Oshae Brissett (3 for 13) nor Elijah Hughes (4 for 11) were able to get it going either.
A disappointing result leaves the Orange seeking another key win to add to their NCAA resume. Syracuse will get that chance on Tuesday when they travel to face the North Carolina Tar Heels.