clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Clemson 77, Syracuse 68: Orange second half comeback attempt comes up short

Syracuse fell to 15-9 on the season and 6-7 in conference play following a home defeat to Clemson.

NCAA Basketball: Clemson at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team came up just shy of a comeback attempt against the Clemson Tigers, falling 77-68 inside the JMA Wireless Dome on Saturday afternoon. The shorthanded Orange trailed by as many as 15 and came all the way back to tie the game in the second half, but couldn’t get over the hump and fell to 11-2 at home this season.

Syracuse was without sophomore center Peter Carey, who was injured in practice according to a team spokesman. Autry went with his usual starters. In the first return of Joe Girard, Syracuse students booed the former Orange guard when he was introduced in the starting lineup and every time he touched the ball.

Brown got things started with a steal and a slam. He and Judah Mintz both connected on threes as Syracuse led 10-9 at the first media timeout. As Autry’s first substitutions of the day, Quadir Copeland and Mounir Hima came in at the 12:29 mark. Clemson led 15-12 at the second media timeout after a Chauncey Wiggins layup attempt was goaltended.

Syracuse began to erode from there. After giving up an offensive rebound, Girard buried his first three attempt of the game. Missed shots and turnovers allowed the Tigers to get out in transition and increase the lead to double-digits. Autry called timeout trailing 24-12.

From there, Syracuse struggled considerably within the halfcourt offense. The Orange devolved into one-on-one play and stopped moving the basketball. That, and the rebounding proved difficult for Syracuse on the other end. The Orange was out-rebounded in the first half 27-11 and Clemson owned the points in the paint battle 28-10. Syracuse won the turnover battle 11-4 but struggled to manufacture those Tiger miscues into points.

Chris Bell was able to connect on a couple of important threes which prevented Syracuse from falling out of the game completely. With the first half winding down, Quadir Copeland had a steal and runout attempt but was called for stepping out of bounds. Copeland, seemingly involved in controversial calls these days, was irate with the call after getting his jersey pulled and never stepping out. On the last play of the half, Chase Hunter was able to score inside just before the buzzer, which put Clemson up 37-24 at the break.

NCAA Basketball: Clemson at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Out of the break, JJ Starling scored on two straight jumpers — one mid-range and one from deep — and Bell hit a three to cut the Tigers lead to five. From there both teams traded buckets as Syracuse shared the ball and found offensive rhythm in the halfcourt, but struggled to get stops on the other end.

After a pair of Copeland free throws once again cut the Clemson lead to five, Girard buried a three on the next possession and shushed the crowd on his back down the floor.

Syracuse was more intent to attack Girard on the offensive end in the second half. Mintz scored on back to back mid-range shots cut it to three with just under 11 minutes to play. Brad Brownell called timeout. On the opposite side of the timeout, Girard buried his fourth three of the game. Starling promptly scored on the opposite end. Back and forth we went down the stretch.

In the closing minutes, a Starling layup brought the Orange deficit to two. Then Copeland split a pair with 4:14 to play to get it to one. Brown picked up his fourth foul on the ensuing possession and PJ Hall split a pair. Clemson led 60-58. Then Starling buried a mid-range two to tie the game. That was as close as Syracuse would get to claiming a second half lead.

Down the stretch Hall shook loose on Brown, who didn’t want to foul, and scored effortlessly. A tough contested jumper by Mintz caromed off the rim, which allowed Hunter to finish on the other end as Clemson claimed a 64-60 lead with 2:28 to play. Syracuse couldn’t cut into the deficit and on the next play Girard found Ian Schieffelin for a corner three as Clemson went up seven with over a minute to play.

The Orange tried to press but surrendered an open look on the back end to Schieffelin. Copeland scored on a reverse but fouled Girard, who made a pair at the line. Girard was fouled again and made both, scoring his 2,000th career point.

Bell made a three to cut it to five with 52 seconds left. That was as close as Syracuse would get. Hunter scored on the back end of the press to put the Tigers up seven that all but sealed the game.

Clemson shot 31-51 (60.8%) from the floor and 6-14 (42.9%) from range. Syracuse shot 25-64 (39.1%) from the floor and 7-23 from deep (30.4%). Clemson out-rebounded Syracuse 41-24 and had a points in the paint edge of 48-32. The Orange the turnovers battle 21-8.

Girard led Clemson in scoring with 18 points on 4-5 outside shooting. Bell and Starling led Syracuse with 16 points each.

Next up

Syracuse returns home on Tuesday to host the North Carolina Tar Heels. That game tips at 7 p.m. ET and airs on ESPN.