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It's OK, Coach. Syracuse won!

It's been a streaky season for Syracuse. 25 straight wins. Followed by two straight losses. So the big question was whether Big Monday's game pitting Syracuse against Maryland would continue this losing streak, or potentially start another winning streak. Orange head coach Jim Boeheim openly lamented how in "this league" Syracuse would be forced to play -- on the road at Duke no less -- on Saturday and then turn around to play on the road at Maryland, when Maryland didn't also play on Saturday. In fact, Maryland hadn't played since THE PRIOR TUESDAY. But hey, the schedule is what it is, and Syracuse had to overcome its poor shooting of late to be able to beat Maryland. That wasn't exactly the case, as it happened, but the Terrapins did everything they could to lose this game. So, yeah, whatever works for Syracuse. The Orange survived this one 57-55.

  • Tyler Ennis got his swag back, a little at least. It was a nice 20-point effort on 9-18 shooting (2-3 from three), playing all 40 minutes. Ennis had three turnovers, but he also had three assists, six rebounds, and two steals.
  • The only other double-digit scorer for Syracuse was the venerable CJ Fair. 17 points on 8-17 shooting with nine rebounds.
  • Trevor Cooney attempted ten long-range shots, but only hit two of them. It was a pedestrian nine-point effort for him. I guess it's too much to ask for Trevor to be consistent. I'm not talking about nine made threes per game. I just want him to play well. He's a shooter, so when he's not shooting well (and the team's offense as a whole is struggling) it's frustrating to see Cooney play poorly.
  • Jerami Grant only played 13 minutes -- all in the first half -- still nursing a sore back aggravated at Duke on Saturday. Therefore, his numbers suffered: four points on two of three from the field. For whatever reason, the box score doesn't include the stat "number of times Jerami Grant fell to the floor." I'll try to keep a tally for the next game, but that would sure make for a good drinking game! I'm no doctor (well, I'm a juris doctor...) but maybe Jerami's back is sore because he fells to the floor so much?
  • In Jerami's absence, Tyler Roberson was able to get some playing time. No, not 20 minutes in the second half. Five. So there's that.
  • Actually, Michael Gbinije was the recipient of more playing time: 27 minutes to contribute four points. He got some great looks -- especially from three -- but only hit one.
  • Boeheim played a lineup featuring both Rakeem Christmas and Baye Moussa Keita for several minutes in this game. I guess that's the "big lineup."
  • Why did Syracuse win? This stat: 18 Maryland turnovers. Which leads to this stat: 26 Syracuse points off turnovers.
  • There was a considerable foul discrepancy in this game: 19 calls against Syracuse, to 13 against Maryland. But it was really when those calls were made that was the discrepancy. Maryland made it to the line for 27 shots, while Syracuse only shot six. SIX!
  • Boeheim wouldn't take the bait postgame to complain about the officiating -- saying he had done enough of that Saturday night -- and while the free throw deficit doesn't give these officials the look of evenness, consider the type of game Syracuse played: jump shots. I mean, really, how many times did the Orange drive the ball inside? Syracuse only managed 14 points in the paint.
  • While the final score shows this as a two point game, it wasn't really that close for much of the game. Really only at the end. As late in the game as 11:46 left to play, Syracuse had its largest lead of 12 points. But Maryland started playing harder, getting to the line, and shutting down Syracuse to drastically cut into that lead.
This wasn't a game any of us walked away feeling good about, except for the fact that it got Syracuse back on its winning ways -- as ugly as it may have been. Let's face it: Syracuse had no pretty wins in February (you could call the February 1 game against Duke a pretty win, but people could disagree). But consider the dive-bomb Syracuse had last February, and this one ends up being nice in comparison. At any rate, Syracuse moves on to March for a few more regular season games before its inaugural ACC Tournament. We'll have the Virginia preview here shortly -- stay tuned!

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