Syracuse drops important home game to NC State

Syracuse (17-9, 6-7 in the ACC) suffered a 74-70 loss to the NC State (17-9, 7-6 in the ACC) on Wednesday night at the Carrier Dome. The Orange held a 6 point lead with under 10 minutes to play but Wolfpack senior Sam Hunt (pictured below) went off for 4 three pointers in the second half and lead NC State to the win.

hunt

Why Syracuse lost

Syracuse turned the ball over too much, especially in the first half. The Orange played well offensively in the first half shooting 55.6% from the field but it was the team’s 10 turnovers that led to a 3 point deficit at the half.

Hunt’s 4 three pointers were killers as he caught fire during the final 10 minutes of the game. Hunt made back to back threes and his three pointer with 2:48 left extended the NC State lead to 8 points.

Tyus Battle finished with 17 points on the night but overall he struggled to get much going throughout the game. He went the first 11:47 of the game without scoring a point and finished 5-13 from the field and 0-3 from the three point line.

1st Half

Early turnovers were costly for the Orange as they registered 3 quick turnovers out of the gate. Oshae Brissett picked up two quick fouls that forced him to the bench early. His replacement, Matthew Moyer, played a solid first half and had 6 points and 3 rebounds.

Battle struggled to make an impact at points during the game and the first half was no exception. He didn’t record his first field goal until a very nice crossover and dunk that came over 12 minutes into the game.

Frank Howard picked up the slack in the first half and scored 9 points in the first 9 minutes of the game.

An NC State 10-0 run contributed to a 4 point lead for the Wolfpack with 3:55 remaining in the half. Guard Allerik Freeman drove to the hoop and scored at the buzzer to give NC State a 3 point halftime lead.

Wolfpack guard Markell Johnson (pictured below) led all scorers at the half with 11 points on 4-7 shooting.

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2nd Half

Brissett carried the Orange early in the second half as he showed off his versatility on the offensive end of the floor. He scored 11 points in the first 6:31 of the half and spearheaded an 8-0 run for the Orange. At the time, the Orange held a 47-41 lead.

Things got chippy between Howard and Johnson after Johnson dunked it on a breakaway. Howard shoved Johnson hard and Johnson got up in Howard’s face which led to another light shove by Howard. The referees called a double technical which gave Johnson his fourth foul.

Syracuse aggressively attacked the basket and drew fouls in the second half. The Orange were in the double bonus with 9:43 left to play.

Things were looking like they might fall in the Orange’s favor but Hunt then came alive and hit 4 three pointers over the next 7 minutes of play. Hunt’s final three pointer gave the Wolfpack an 8 point lead.

Syracuse clawed back to tie the game with 59 seconds remaining behind 2 three pointers from Brissett and a driving bucket by Battle but ultimately a three pointer from Johnson at the top of the arc with 33 seconds left iced the game.

Brissett finished the game tying his career high with 25 points on 8-13 shooting. He also chipped in 7 rebounds and 3 steals.

Hunt scored 14 points on the game, 12 of which came from his second half three pointers.

Big Picture

This loss really hurts the Orange as it was a winnable game at home against a potential NCAA Tournament team.

The Orange now only have 5 ACC games left and they are 6-7 in the conference. Syracuse really needs to win 3 of their final 5 regular season games to give them a good shot at making the Big Dance.

Up Next

Syracuse travels to Miami to play the Hurricanes on Saturday at noon. The game is on CBS and presents a huge opportunity for the Orange to secure a resume building win against a top 30 RPI team. The schedule gets even tougher after the Miami game as Syracuse will face North Carolina at home on February 21 and Duke on the road on February 24.

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