You knew Syracuse was losing by nine, you just didn’t know how.
The Syracuse Orange wasted a career night from Cole Swider and dropped another heartbreaking game this season, this time to the North Carolina Tar Heels 88-79 in overtime. Both offenses were clicking throughout the game with the Orange shooting 49% from the floor, 40% from three and the Tar Heels shooting 39% from three.
Here’s our three takeaways from yet another winnable game from the Orange:
The game plan for Syracuse was simple.
Avoid whoever Leaky Black was covering.
That’s how Cole Swider got so hot. He had a huge size advantage over Caleb Love and shot over him with ease. Swider recorded a career high with 36 points on 14-20 shooting and 7-10 three point shooting. The majority of those shots were with Love covering Swider. As soon as Black switched to Swider and Love switched to Buddy Boeheim, the offense ran through Syracuse’s leading scorer. Syracuse found the mismatch and attacked it well.
The Symir effect
Not having Symir Torrence hurt Syracuse in three ways. First and most important, his defense at the top of the zone was sorely missed to discourage the UNC three-point barrage. Second, he couldn’t come off the bench to give Buddy or Joe Girard a break. Each Orange guard played all 45 minutes. Third, Syracuse didn’t have another reliable option to bring the ball up the floor. Jimmy Boeheim needed to start offensive possession because of the defensive pressure RJ Davis put on Girard. Syracuse desperately needed Torrence today and his absence continues to be felt.
Here we go again
It’s incredible that Syracuse’s narrative this season is finding inventive ways to lose late in games. Whether it’s starting painfully slow in the second half or collapsing in the final two minutes, the Orange have had their fair share of heartbreaking losses. However, once again a random but familiar scenario showed up - inbounding the ball. If you remember at the beginning of 2022, Syracuse and Wake Forest went into overtime at Winston-Salem because of an inbounds play going awry for the Orange. Once again, the Orange should’ve had a better chance to kill off the game in regulation but couldn’t cleanly get the ball in.