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A lack of transition points and jacket tosses costs Syracuse

The Tigers stopped the Orange from playing to their strengths

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Clemson Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange saw their winning streak come to an end against the Clemson Tigers and a couple of areas stood out. Coming into the game it appeared that Syracuse would have a big advantage in transition. Syracuse entered the game in the top 10% in the country in transition while the Tigers were in the bottom 10% in defensive efficiency in transition.

We’ve talked about Syracuse’s success in the open floor and what it means to get their offense attacking before the defense can set up but last night Clemson held the Orange to four fast break points. The Orange had ten steals (five from Elijah Hughes) and forced Clemson into sixteen turnovers but were only able to generate fifteen points off those turnovers. Failure to convert them into opportunities for easy looks at the basket left the Orange to try and score in the halfcourt and the offense wasn’t as effective in the second half.

Buddy Boeheim and Hughes combined to shoot nine for eighteen from the field in the first half but were only six for seventeen in the second half. Clemson did a good job making them work for shots and when Marek Dolezaj fouled out the Tigers were able to place more attention on the duo.Last week we praised the tweaks to create good isolation opportunities but down the stretch Syracuse was unable to take advantage in the paint. Once Dolezaj exited the game the Orange were two for five in the paint down the stretch- one for two from Hughes and one for three from Girard.

Another area where the Orange failed to play to their strength was on the sideline. There were multiple questionable foul calls in the second half while Syracuse still had the lead (most notably Dolezaj’s fifth foul) and yet the Boeheim jacket remained on. When the ball went out of bounds with eleven seconds left and the Orange protecting a one-point lead, why did no one pull the sleeves and implore Jim to take the coat off while drawing up that in-bounds play? I mean people look at the data here:

  • Syracuse’s record in jacket toss games going back to the 2017-18 season is 15-3
  • Syracuse has won 7 straight jacket toss games dating back to last season
  • Syracuse has a 9-2 record in ACC jacket toss games since the 2017-18 season
  • Syracuse’s road record in jacket toss games over the last two seasons is 3-0 (all ACC games)

With the Duke Blue Devils coming to The Dome on Saturday it’s time for the Orange to get back to what works on and off the court.