Almost every team in men's college basketball ends the season with a loss, and though the Syracuse Orange men's basketball team had a chance to do something that many don't get to do in their season finale, it couldn't.
Behind Trevor Lacey and Ralston Turner both scoring 19 points and a 27-4 run that began at the tail end of the first half and five minutes into the second, the North Carolina State Wolfpack cruised to a 71-57 victory over the visiting Orange in an Atlantic Coast Conference game at the PNC Arena.
The contest was the season finale for Syracuse (18-13, 9-9 ACC), which self-imposed a postseason ban for this season and will head into the offseason with a lot of uneasiness, as the program needs to figure out what it will do with the NCAA penalties.
In his SU swan song, senior center Rakeem Christmas struggled, but managed to tally 15 points, on 5-of-16 shooting, collect 12 rebounds and block five shots. Christmas had plenty of good attempts early, but none of them fell. He managed to break double figures by knocking down all five of his free-throw attempts and collecting a few second-chance points off rebounds.
Despite his struggles, Christmas caps his final year averaging an impressive 17.4 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game–a stat line much improved compared to last season when he averaged 5.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg and 1.9 bpg.
Sophomore Tyler Roberson netted a game-high 16 points, while Michael Gbinije was the only other Orange player to finish in double figure with 10. Trevor Cooney made just one of his six 3-point attempts en route to just eight points.
More to come about the season's end and what's to come for SU, but for now, be thankful for Rakeem Christmas and that this season is finally over.