The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team ended a two-game winning streak, falling on the road to the No. 8-ranked Virginia Cavaliers by a final score of 81-58 on Monday night. It marked a missed opportunity for Syracuse as the Orange still lack a quadrant one win and fell to 3-4 in league play.
Syracuse’s offense left much to be desired against and the defense was often late on rotations as Virginia dissected the zone for open looks. Virginia’s 81 points marked the high-water level in the series, breaking the previous high of 79. Jim Boeheim fell to 3-8 all-time against Tony Bennett; Syracuse has yet to break the 70-point threshold against a Bennett coached team.
To the takeaways:
Hole in the résumé
Syracuse entered the night in need of a standout win to bolster its resume (read: quadrant one win). The Orange are now 0-4 in quadrant one games. The Virginia Tech game from Saturday was a quadrant two win. As a reminder, quadrant one games are the highest quality game a team can have on its résumé. That breaks down as follows:
Quadrant 1: Home (1-30) Neutral (1-50) Away (1-75)
Quadrant 2: Home (31-75) Neutral (51-100) Away (76-135)
Quadrant 3: Home (76-160) Neutral (101-200) Away (136-240)
Quadrant 4: Home (161-357) Neutral (201-357) Away (241-357)
There are still plenty of opportunities on the schedule, but with the season winding down and the possibility of games getting canceled, Syracuse has work to do to make the NCAA Tournament.
Three point disparity and too much one-on-one
Nobody would suggest that Virginia didn’t make things difficult, but Syracuse was too content to play one-on-one against the Cavaliers. This translated to missed shots and easy rebounds for UVa. In the first half, the Orange shot a paltry 2-11 from distance. Virginia, on the other hand, dissected the 2-3 zone to knock down 7-17 from deep. Sam Hauser was 5-8 from distance alone.
JB: "We've got to make a couple more shots. We're 2-11 from the 3, they've got 7 3s. That's the difference in the game. We just make a couple more, we're right there... They've got really good shooters, the two best I've seen here. We've got to do a better job with them..."— Matt Park (@MattPark1) January 26, 2021
That wouldn’t change in the second half. Virginia finished the game shooting 14-31 from deep as Hauser connected on 7-13. Syracuse as a team shot just 5-24. The perimeter players tried to go one-one-one too much, as evidenced by only ten assists as SU shot 22-59 (37.3%)
The press was a mixed bag
Earlier in the season Jim Boeheim said his team couldn’t press a pair of pants.
Trailing by 18 with roughly ten minutes left to play Boeheim went to his press, which yielded a medley of results. Syracuse forced some turnovers, but costly mistakes gave it right back to Virginia. Other times Virginia broke free in transition for open dunks at the rim. “We caught a turnover but I think were pretty smart on the press,” Quincy Guerrier said post-game.
The Orange continued to press for the rest of the game, trimming Virginia’s lead to 11 with 5:17 to play. That’s as close as Syracuse would get. There would be no miracle comeback this time. The Orange couldn’t cut it to single digits and Virginia cruised to a 23 point victory down the stretch.