After almost three weeks of playing no games, Syracuse came out the gates HOT shooting from deep. The Orange cooled off later in the half, however and struggled down the stretch against Pittsburgh, resulting in a 63-60 loss inside the Carrier Dome.
Brooklyn native, Femi Odukale was doing his best to provide his team the needed energy to comeback into this one through hustle plays and activity in the paint. I’ve watched Femi play my whole life growing up in Brooklyn. I first played against him in middle school. He was always good at using his length defensively while also slashing through zones to catch defenses off guard.
Alan Griffin was a big part of the lead built through the first half, he ended the first half with 8 points and 5 rebounds. Quincy Guerrier has been the guy for Syracuse all season, but he found himself in foul trouble early on which meant he couldn’t be a factor in this one until late on.
When the second half started, just over five minutes of play was enough for Pittsburgh to cut the lead down to 4. This run was sparked by Ithiel Horton.
An unexpected hero for Syracuse stepped up following the run. It was none other than Robert Braswell. He drained three triples in a row and it didn’t end there too. Things only got better when Kooks got 2 quick steals as we got closer to the 10 minute mark of the second half
And this added on to a 12-2 run by the Orange that lasted 4:44. The lead ballooned back 14.
As we got closer and closer to the final minutes, Sidibe’s absence was felt because the Panthers were crashing on both ends. Guerrier’s foul trouble just exacerbated it all too.
What seemed like a definite victory slowly started to become the complete opposite. At the 2:58 mark of the half, the lead got cut down to JUST 5 after a bucket in the paint by Terrell Brown. In typical Jim Boeheim fashion, he called a timeout and got on the team about the positioning out there in the zone.
Just when all hope was lost, Xavier Johnson tied the game for the Panthers at 57 all after draining a three. The Orange found themselves going down to the wire once again.
After a timeout, Alan Griffin answered back from deep hitting a triple of his own. It wasn’t enough to keep Pitt at bay because they scored right back. They were then down one.
Syracuse tried to keep the momentum up but Griffin missed a three at the top of the key. The Panthers picked up the board and came storming down the court just to find Alan Griffin once again blocking what could have been the lead for them. This forced them to call timeout with just under 30 seconds left to go in the game.
After coming out of the timeout, the Orange got shocked after failing to get a defensive rebound on a miss ending with Au’Diese Toney tipping it in to give them the lead.
Syracuse came up the court and called timeout with about 5 seconds left.
With a possession that could’ve led to a game winning shot, Marek Dolezaj failed to inbound the ball and threw it away. In the same instance, he threw the game away too. The Orange went out to lose. The Panthers recovered the ball and made both free throws. Syracuse was down 62-59 with no timeouts left.
Griffin was left with the last shot, but it was from halfcourt. He missed and the Orange lost in heartbreaking fashion. Losing to a comeback after leading by as much as 14 at one point.
Ithiel Horton ended the game with a team high 14 points.