The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team (12-7, 5-3) fell to the Miami Hurricanes (15-3, 6-2) by a final score of 82-78 from the Watsco Center on Monday night. The Orange missed an opportunity to secure its first quadrant one win of the season.
Once again Syracuse found itself in a hole early as Miami jumped out to an 11-2 lead at the first media timeout. But Jim Boeheim’s bench was able to provide a lift in the first half to get the Orange back into the game. The offense picked up after Joe Girard and Jesse Edwards were reinserted into the game and Syracuse was able to head into the half securing a 38-34 lead.
The Orange came out of the half firing on all cylinders, building a lead as much as 11. Miami wouldn’t go quietly into the night, however. The Hurricanes crept back into the game before taking its first lead of the game on a Harlond Beverly bucket with 3:46 to play. Syracuse squandered chances late and Miami closed things out from the free throw line.
Edwards recorded his ninth double-double of the season with a career-high 25 points and 11 rebounds. Girard dropped 21 points and Benny Williams bounced back with 12 points and five rebounds. But untimely turnovers and offensive miscues proved to be Syracuse’s undoing late.
To the takeaways.
Mintz shows freshman signs
Judah Mintz has been exceptional for Syracuse all season. He was ready-made for the point guard position from the start of the season and he’s dazzled fans with his quickness and ability to finish around the tin. He’s been brilliant in the zone, too, leading the ACC in steals as a freshman.
But Mintz really struggled to get going in Miami. He was held to a season-low three points and turned it over five times against the Hurricanes pressure. Tough shots and costly giveaways down the stretch as well as a forced shot with 13 seconds left proved costly in a two point game.
Mintz doesn’t have to be the hero. He’ll bounce back, but his play at Miami was one of the few times he looked like a freshman this season.
Sorry to jock Brent Axe’s style, but free throws still matter.
While Syracuse is typically good at keeping teams off the free throw line due to the zone, Miami got to the free throw line 28 times and knocked down 25 (89%). Syracuse was 14-17 (pretty good) from the line (82%). Check that math, but that’s an 11 point differential.
Syracuse could help itself by closing out defensive possessions and not giving up offensive rebounds (16 in this game) which sometimes result in fouls on second or third shots.
That, and Miami was 6-6 from the free throw line in crunch time. That was enough to keep Syracuse at bay.
You almost had it... You gotta be quicker than that
Syracuse’s first quadrant one win of the season slipped from its grasp. The Orange wasn’t in the NCAA Tournament conversation to be sure. But a win would’ve moved the needle significantly.
Opportunities are starting to dwindle and Syracuse can’t afford to let opportunities slip away. The Orange failed to beat anybody of note in the non-conference portion of its schedule and the program has just one quality win (Virginia Tech) to date.
As it stands now, Syracuse has six quadrant one opponents remaining on its schedule not including ACC Tournament play. Building an NCAA Tournament resume will prove tough in a down league.