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Well crap is crap, and that was crap.
Well this was a big stinker. Syracuse deeded to go 2-2 in this critical four game stretch, hopefully winning the games at home. Sadly, that was not the case as the Orange came into Sunday’s game flat and, although they were in the game for most of it, they could not keep the lead or get it back in the end. Syracuse fell to Louisville for the first time in the Carrier Dome 57 to 67.

Eric Devendorf was the leading scorer for the Orange. He had 20 points off the bench. His key contribution was hitting a good three at the end of the game, but more importantly he hit seven of nine free throws. He had a pretty good game, but he only made three of eight three point baskets. With Andy Rautins out of the game we needed him to shoot better and he did not.

Jonny Flynn was the next scorer with 12 points, four assists, and 6-6 on free throws. Flynn for half of the game managed to slice the lane and get to the hoop, but against the taller, more physical Louisville team, he found himself hitting the deck on several occasions. He also, I believe, played selfishly and tried to finish to the hoop instead of penetrating and kicking back to an open Andy Rautins or a cutting Harris or Jackson. Either way, when you are driving on the baseline, you end up under the basket picking up your dribble, and there are three much taller gentlemen around you, it will probably be a turnover.

Arinze Onuaku had 11 points and nine rebounds. He made five of six baskets, and actually made one of three free throws. However, he was not active on defense enough in this game and frequently lost track of the Louisville players and allowed an easy pass behind the zone from the top of the key for an easy bucket. He also did not take nearly enough shots in this game.

Harris and Jackson had six and three points, as well as eight and nine rebounds respectively. Not dynamic nights for these two players, and thus a proximate cause of Syracuse ending up with the lower number on the scoreboard. Either way, Harris played well pulling down necessary rebounds and hit a couple of jump shots. Jackson was pretty inactive in this game, although he played decent defense against the big boys of Louisville. Harris did contribute this before the game though. Thanks YouTube!

Andy Rautins finished with three points on 1-6 shooting from long range. He then went down after receiving a pass from Flynn in which he rolled his ankle. I’ll be honest, it was gruesome to watch in person. I thought he tore the ACL on his right knee after being injured in his other knee the previous year. But it turns out he just sprained his ankle badly, as he did not return, and from what it looked like the team doctor said, he probably immediately left the Dome for the hospital. Updates will be provided when they are available.

Either way, this was a terrible game to watch from start to finish. You could tell that this Syracuse team was flat and not in a rhythm offensively. This team never had control of the game, and although they got the lead or had it tied late in this game, they just could never get going. Two offensive fouls in a row on Eric Devendorf, and then two possessions in which Syracuse could not score, finished this game for Syracuse.

Syracuse shot poorly, making 18-51 (35.3%), and from long range only 4-16 (25%). They did actually manage to hit some free throws, basically because Flynn and Devendorf took most of them. They hit 17-24 (70.8%).l Either way, again this game was not an offensive benchmark for Syracuse.

The biggest question coming out of this game is can this team be clutch? Has this team been able to be clutch since Demetris Nichols left? Other than when Flynn hit a big three in the Kansas game to send it to overtime, have we seen any moment like that in a game? There have been a few critical moments, but Syracuse just has not seemed to overtake them. This team had a chance at this game, and they seemed uninspired, uncoached, and seemed to not have a clue at the end of the game. Boeheim and this team should feel embarrassed at it. The game management, shooting, and game plan was poor.

Syracuse now has to move on from here and beat Providence on the road Wednesday. They then have a week off and face West Virginia, a team that beat Georgetown in DC, at home in the Dome. This team needs to get their act together and continue winning big games, instead of coming out forgetting how to shoot the ball. These next games should get them back on track, but it could spiral them further down. Time will tell.

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