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Wednesday night, Syracuse traveled to Georgia Tech for its first ACC game in Atlanta. The two talking points about the Yellow Jackets were that although they were a good rebounding team, they were the worst three-point shooting team in the country. Like, 345 out of 345. So, something like that plays right into a team that plays the 2-3 zone -- Syracuse wouldn't have to worry too much about guarding the outside shooters, because even if they made a couple, there's no way GTech would be able to get hot enough to make 3s a difference. And, well, whatever it was, Syracuse came out on top, 46-45.

  • Very clearly, without Rakeem Christmas, Syracuse loses this game. Badly. Which is an awful thing to say when the final score is 46-45. Rak had a game-high 18 points on 7-17 shooting, but a very clutch 4-4 from the line, including the clincher. Tyler Ennis's ice from last year ended up at Absolute Zero in Rak's veins Wednesday night.
  • Playing all 40 inutes, Rak also had eight rebounds, a couple blocks and a couple steals, Unfortunately he also turned the ball over four times. So, nobody's perfect. But without him, Syracuse loses. For sure.
  • While Rak is the rock of this team (sorry, everyone else has said it so don't give me that look), the play of Michael Gbinije has been anything except craptacular since being inserted into the starting lineup. Against the Yellow Jackets, Gbinije scored 14 on 6-11 shooting, including 2-2 from three, along with ten rebounds in 36 minutes on the floor. That was his first double-double of the season, and rumor has it even his first double-double in his career.
  • Trevor Cooney had a pedestrian game, though when viewed in the vacuum of this particular game, you could say he did quite well: nine points on 3-10 from the floor, 2-6 from three, and a couple of nice steals to keep up his active defense reputation.
  • "Hey Coach, talk about Chris McCullough." When the answer to that "question" is how he wishes McCullough would play bad, because bad would be a step up from where he is now, well, you know where McCullough is on the spectrum. Three points and four rebounds seems to exaggerate his contribution in this game. Derp.
  • On the other side of the ball, Georgia Tech had one really good player -- Charles Mitchell -- while the rest of the team was, well, there. Mitchell put up 17 points, while the rest of the team scored a combined 28. 
  • In total, GTech shot 26.3% from the floor -- and usually, when you shoot that bad, you're not winning. An Orange effort of 34.6% -- which usually would have fallen into that same category -- proved to be enough for the win.
  • Looking at more team stats, this is one of those games that reminds you of drinking a crappy beer like, say, a Miller Lite: it's cheap, gives you no satisfaction, has the mouthfeel of watered-down skunk urine, but in the end can get the job done. Syracuse only had nine fast-break points, nine points off turnovers, and ten second-chance points. Georgia Tech had six fast-break points, and managed 22 points in the paint.
  • I don't wanna talk about this anymore.
Think back. Most of you have been Syracuse basketball fans for a long time. You've probably said "A win is a win" dozens of times during that fandom. But was it ever more appropriate than Wednesday night? With the recent strides this Orange team has made in not only its offense, but its cohesiveness in playing as a team (the second half of the VTech game excluded), it was somewhat surprising to see the Syracuse effort (or lack thereof) on Wednesday. If we're lucky, we can just attribute it to "playing down to your competition," though that's not entirely true because this Yellow Jacket team just took a fantastic Notre Dame team into double overtime over the weekend. So, who knows?

You'll notice the four words above in bold. I decided to try a little bit of an interactive recap for this game (since I was dreading writing it), so I reached out to twitter, asking for people to submit one word for me to work into my recap. Those bolded words above were submitted. We might not work that into all of our recaps, but keep an eye on my twitter for requests, and you might be able to help contribute to the daily disaster that is Syracuse athletics.

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