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Don't feel bad Kristof!, you're still one of the most favorite players in SU history.
Everyone that is a Syracuse fan had very high hopes for Syracuse to make it to the Elite 8. While a few fans had Syracuse making it to Detroit, the majority had them matching up well against Oklahoma as Syracuse has played against the best big men in the nation all conference season. The fact of the matter is that Syracuse picked a hell of a time to have one of their worst games of the season. Syracuse has their season end by #2 seed Oklahoma 84 to 71.

Jonny Flynn led the Orange in scoring, as he has for most of the season. He finished with 22 points and six assists on a 9-16 shooting day. Flynn, playing with a sore back in the second half, looked like Flynn has all year by slicing the lane, making good passes, and facilitating good looks at the hoop by his superior ball handling skills. He also took one of the hardest charges I have ever seen despite the fact the referees called it a block against Flynn, giving Griffin a cheap and one. I saw the tape, and Flynn’s feet were set before Griffin left his feat. That my friend is a charge and not a block. More on the refereeing in this game later.

Andy Rautins, although having a poor shooting night overall, was your second leading scorer, earning 12 points in 28 minutes. He also had three steals, two assists, and two rebounds. He was only 4-12 from the floor however, and 3-10 from long range. Very uncharacteristic for Rautins as of late, and a terrible time to be less effective than usual.

Eric Devendorf, after having a great game against Arizona State, did not do as well. He earned eight points, making a decent 2-7 from long range, but only making 3-12 total. He also had four blocks and two steals. However, Syracuse needed offense in this game and with Rautins not shooting that well the team needed Devendorf to. He did not and we lost.

Rick Jackson also had eight points. While normally this is a pretty good game for Jackson, every member of a team needs to step up in the NCAA Tournament as every game gets harder and you play better teams. He did nothing to stop Griffin, and in 31 minutes on the floor hit 4-5 field goals. That is good, but five attempts and only three rebounds is not good.

Similarly, Arinze Onuaku had seven points and six rebounds on 3-4 shooting from the floor. He just did not do enough to keep us in this game. The good news is when he did take a shot it usually went in. But it was not active defense that was really his shortcoming in this game.

Where did you go do it all Paul? Harris had six points on 1-4 shooting and going 4-4 from the free throw line. He did get six rebounds however. Either way, he was a complete non-factor in this game and he only played 24 minutes. And he’s actually flirting with the notion of leaving for the NBA? You best stay and get your degree son. It would be different if you averaged a double-double. But come on.

Kristof! also had a game not up to par. He finished with two rebounds, an assist, and zero points. Not a good way to end a career. Sadly Kristof! rides off into the sunset, or probably more accurately back to Belgium when the school year ends. But he did his part and was a pleasure to watch along the way. Thanks for everything, despite the end of your career being so lackluster.

Blake Griffin delivered as advertised in this game, earning 30 points and 14 rebounds on 12-15 shooting. Sadly Onuaku and Jackson failed to give him tough and contested shots as nothing seemed to go right for the Syracuse defense. Oklahoma shot 54.2% from the floor. The defense was a huge let down, as just when Syracuse started to gain offensive momentum they would fail to gain an important stop, or they would rebound and then lose it right near the hoop. Stellar.

Most assuredly Syracuse played very flat in this game and looked tired and lackadaisical, seeming to always be a step behind Oklahoma. This is fine in a non-conference game, or even a scrub Big East game. But this kind of performance is never acceptable in a postseason tournament. It is not that much of a shock however, as Syracuse has played flat in the second half of their previous two NCAA games. They managed to start the game flat, and never seemed to recover, and if you somehow think they did, it was still too late.

Syracuse again suffered from poor shooting. Syracuse overall was 7-24 (29.2%) from long range total. They also only shot 27-60 (45%) from the floor. This is low for what Syracuse had been averaging in the tournament and the last ten games. It is one thing when one player shoots poorly, but for all of the outside shooters on the team, a team with the best point guard in the nation and one of the best shooters in the country, shoots poorly well then you do not really have a shot. Especially when playing a team with the best player in the nation on it.

Turnovers also killed this Syracuse team. Syracuse against Arizona State only had ten turnovers. In this game Syracuse had a whopping 18. Flynn and Jackson each had five. This allowed for more scoring chances for Oklahoma, and made it virtually impossible for Syracuse to get back into this game, despite the fact that Syracuse narrowed the scoring gap to only four in the first half, before letting Oklahoma pull away again before the half. Syracuse needed to take better care of the ball and Syracuse did not manage to.
Despite Syracuse playing bad, and yes I am saying that, the referees in this game were terrible. On top of that charge called a block I mentioned earlier on Flynn, at one point Flynn received the ball, turned and ran into an Oklahoma player who threw a little bit of a forearm shiv, and lost the ball. There was no call. When there is contact like that, a call has to be made. In this case it was preposterous that Flynn gets that kind of contact and there was not any call whatsoever. I would have been happier with Flynn getting a charge than no call at all. Just awful. I hate having to beat a good team AND the referees. Talk about protecting a star.
Syracuse played in Memphis at the FedEx Forum earlier this year when they beat a great Memphis team on their home court, without Devendorf I might add. This time was just not in the cards for the Orange. Syracuse finished the season with quite the let down. However, they reached the Sweet 16, which an appearance in was the goal I set for the team at the end of last season. It was imperative that they reached this point, and they managed to, therefore the league was not a let down overall. Either way, it was a fun year and we saw some pretty special moments. I’ll have my full season recap/highlights sometime soon, but for now I thank Kristof! and the other seniors, and thanks for some fun moments in the tournament. Both tournaments. We’ll always have UConn.

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1 Responses to “Syracuse - Oklahoma Postgame Reactions OR Now It's Time To Say Goodbye”

  1. # Blogger Sammy

    kristof is so adorable and diesel..  

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