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Syracuse men’s basketball struggling to close out games

And this is why the Orange are on the outside looking in

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 08 Syracuse at Boston College Photo by M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Syracuse Orange had battled back from a 10-point halftime deficit to tie the Virginia Tech Hokies on the road. Buddy Boeheim ‘s jumper with 6:56 to play made the game 54-54 and Syracuse looked poised to grab their first Quad 1 win of the season.

Unfortunately the Orange could not close the game out. On the next possession Syracuse got a stop but Buddy tried to drive and turned the ball over leading to a scramble situation that finished in a Justyn Mutts dunk completing his triple-double.

Until Buddy hit a 3-pointer with 50 seconds to play this is what happened for the Orange:

  • Eight straight missed shots. Six from outside the arc along with a dunk and lay-up (albeit both of those could have resulted in foul shots)
  • Two missed free throws
  • Thirteen consecutive points for Virginia Tech

Six minutes of a complete breakdown on both sides of the ball saw Syracuse go from adding a fifth straight win heading into a week off followed by games against Boston College and Georgia Tech. The Orange were that close to being in good position of heading into Duke’s visit to the Dome on a seven-game winning streak.

Instead they watched as they let a third winnable ACC road game get away from them down the stretch. Miami torched the Orange and a late call gave Wake Forest the chance to get into overtime and steal a win but Syracuse has not finished the job this season.

Syracuse v Miami Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The good news is that the Orange will get two more big road opportunities when they travel to Notre Dame and North Carolina before the end of the regular season. The bad news is that without Jesse Edwards the pressure falls even more on the starters. On Saturday Joe Girard’s 34 minutes were lowest among the starters as we saw the bench combine for two points and three rebounds in fourteen minutes.

Failing to close out halves has been a problem this year and Syracuse is running out of time to fix it.