That was a totally different team on the floor than what the Syracuse Orange have been showing during their five game win-streak. Despite the Orange’s early 7-1 lead, the team played flat on both ends of floor as their stagnant offense doomed them from the start.
The offensive side of the game was a massive struggle for SU as their reliable three-point shot went missing all day. They finished 6-19 from three, the majority of which came from Andrew White III who had three of his own. The Orange put together a little comeback down the stretch, but what hurt them throughout the game became even more apparent at the end: rebounding.
Syracuse was outrebounded 41-25 by the Pittsburgh Panthers, while also getting beat 15-9 on the offensive glass. The Orange have been averaging 36 rebounds per game, so an outing of 25 against a conference rival will not get the job done.
Tyler Lydon was SU’s leading rebounder against the Panthers with a measly six boards. Sheldon Jeter led the way for the Panthers with 11 rebounds of his own, as he manhandled the Orange throughout. The starting five for the Orange finished with 18 rebounds while the Panther’s two leading rebounders from the game combined for 20 alone.
A stat like that will most definitely lead to a disappointing loss.
Syracuse attempted more shots than Pitt and even committed less turnovers too, but getting outrebounded by 16 on the road is a recipe for failure. Rebounding is a team effort, but when individual specialists fail to contribute, the other players on the floor lack any chance at controlling possession.
The five-game hot streak for the Orange has come to an end, and this loss certainly did not look pretty. SU is going to need to put this game in the past quickly before Louisville comes to the Dome on Monday.
There are still plenty of opportunities for Syracuse to boost its resume. But if outings like today’s continue, the Orange will have no shot at completing their season-turnaround. Louisville will be a test like nothing the Orange have seen up to date, but the Orange have shown how they can play up to their competition.
Rebounding will be a must against a Louisville team that averages 40 per game. Coach Jim Boeheim cannot be pleased with how his team crashed the glass today. They’ll need a much better effort there if they have a chance against opponents like Louisville this coming Monday.