Offensive Woes Finally Cost Syracuse Orange

By Gregory Philson
Jerami Grant
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange finally dropped their first game of the season in overtime to the Boston College Eagles. While it is a surprise because it happened against a team near the bottom of the ACC at the Carrier Dome, recent trends make the loss not as unbelievable. In fact, the loss to the Eagles might be exactly what coach Jim Boeheim‘s team needed to fix an offense that has struggled since shooting 57.4 percent against the Duke Blue Devils on Feb. 1.

The Orange have played five games since the thriller against the Blue Devils and have shot no better than 44.7 percent. Syracuse’s shooting percentage has actually slipped every game and hit rock bottom against BC when the team only hit a season-low 32.3 percent. There had been some talk during the unbeaten streak that this was the best Syracuse team ever, but anyone who understands offense knew that could not be the case. Tyler Ennis is a fantastic end-of-game player, but he rarely gets going until the second half and is not a consistent enough shooter. C.J. Fair came into the season as a hyped-up player who could have a breakout year. He is averaging 16 points per game but is only shooting 43.1 percent.

The Orange also do not have enough of an inside presence that can relied on when the jump shots are not falling. Rakeem Christmas is a great athlete, but he cannot transfer that into basketball-type skills. He does not have good footwork in the post and his touch is not soft around the hoop. Jerami Grant is the team’s best bet for interior scoring as he averages 12.4 points per game. However, he is only 6-foot-8, and when Syracuse plays teams with some beef in the middle he could slide.

Of course all of these slights are easy to look at after a team suffers a loss, but a bad offense is still something that can hinder the Orange’s chances of cutting down the nets. Luckily, the zone defense is still tough to beat, and the offense may be able to do just enough to frustrate teams in the first two weekends of the NCAA tournament.

The Orange only need to improve a little bit on offense going forward, and maybe playing Duke on Saturday will be the game where Syracuse figures out everything on that side of the ball.

Gregory T. Philson is an ACC college basketball writer at Follow him on Twitter @GTPhilson, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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