For the second straight time, Syracuse lost a road game to a team they are better then. The Orange fell short 65-55 to Pittsburgh on Saturday. What was a two-point halftime deficit ended up to be more in the second half as the team struggled to get things going on the offensive side. I could recycle old articles, because the same issues keep coming up for this team.
First, they got crushed on the boards allowing 14 offensive rebounds to the taller Panthers. Jerami Grant led the Orange with five. We could point to the fact that DaJuan Coleman wasn’t out there, but he hasn’t really had too many dominant rebounding efforts this season. It’s about effort and that hasn’t been there in the last two games. The two big men that did play accounted for just three points and six rebounds in 40 combined minutes. Baye Keita and Rakeem Christmas need to produce more on the offensive end, because some would say it’s 4 on 5 out there when the Orange have the ball.
We can’t complain about the free throw shooting as Syracuse missed only four of them overall. CJ Fair’s performance was spectacular scoring 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting the ball. The problem was the lack of a consistent second scorer. Michael Carter-Williams and Brandon Triche missed 19 of their 26 overall shots. It also didn’t help that Triche added six turnovers to his stat line.
James Southerland’s presence was missed in this one as Trevor Cooney played 17 minutes and didn’t take a shot. Granted, Southerland takes some bad shots from time-to-time, but his long range prowess is needed to keep teams honest. The one positive from his absence is Jerami Grant’s increase in minutes. Grant will be a factor in the ACC come next season.