The Orange play another uninspired, incomplete game and they pay for it with an early exit from their first ACC Tournament.
With less than 20 seconds remaining and the Syracuse Orange down three points to the N.C. State Wolfpack, the Orange had one possession to try and tie things up and have another memorable, heart-attack victory. They fired a three-pointer. It missed. They grabbed the rebound and fired around three. It missed and they fired another three pointer. It was way off. Then another three pointer, the worst miss yet. And then C.J. Fair stepped out of bounds trying to save the ball for a fifth try and that was that.
The Orange were given every opportunity to win the game but when it mattered most, the shots just didn't fall. What a metaphor for the past six weeks.
And so, the 2-seed Orange fell to the 7-seed Wolfpack, 66-63, and now get the weekend to wait and see what seed they'll get in the NCAA Tournament. It will not be a 1-seed, that much is sure. It probably won't be a 2-seed now, either. After that, who the heck knows.
Tyler Ennis and Jeremi Grant did everything they could to keep SU in the game, scoring 21 and 19 respectively. Every time Grant got the ball down low, something good happened. And yet SU refused to make that a focal point of the game. At least until it was too late.
C.J. Fair has a horrendous day. Just nine points on 3/16 shooting. Trevor Cooney was hampered by an ankle injury, though it should be noted he hit his only three of the game immediately following said injury. The point is…tweak Trevor's ankle before every game.
Baye Keita might have had a night equally as rough as C.J. It seemed like every time he touched the ball, he then lost control of said ball. Rakeem Christmas came alive late with three blocks, but, it just wasn't enough.
The Orange spent most of the game playing from behind and simply got outplayed most of the night. That they were able to turn it on towards the end of the game and were able to create so many opportunities to win in the final seconds is all the more frustrating when you realize how much of the game they looked sluggish and uninspired.
Syracuse does not look good headed into the NCAAs. They will be on very few people's Final Four list. They will be on a whole lot of people's first-round upset list. And honestly, I can't disagree with any of it.
Of course, that's why they're going back to the Final Four...
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