Syracuse Falls to UNC; Has to Await Its Tourney Fate
In a day full of upsets in the ACC tournament, the Orange were unable to get one of its own. Syracuse (20-13, 8-10) fell to #12 North Carolina (20-7, 12-7) 78-59 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The 'Cuse was the only ACC lower seed that did not win its matchup today.
The Orange had a chance to likely secure its spot in the NCAA tournament, but failed to do so against Roy Williams and the Tar Heels.
In the first half, Syracuse was able to keep pace with UNC thanks to its three-point shooting. The Orange shot 7-13 from behind the arc in the first 20 minutes. SU forward Oshae Brissett led all scorers with 12 first half points and was a perfect 4-4 from downtown. For comparison, the Tar Heels shot a paltry 3-10 from three-point land.
What Carolina lacked in three-point shooting they made up for on the defensive end. The 'Cuse turned it over nine times in the first half alone. UNC capitalized. outscoring SU 12-2 in points off turnovers.
To make matters worse, the Heels grossly out-shot the Orange from the charity stripe. Carolina went 10-11 from the line,while Tyus Battle made the only two free throws that Syracuse attempted. Thanks to a 10-0 run from 10:16 to 5:02, the Tar Heels took a healthy 39-29 lead into halftime.
Unfortunately for the Orange, it lost one of its bigs early in the second half. At the 16:26 mark, 7'2" Paschal Chukwu picked up his fifth foul. Chukwu fouled out with a measly two points and three blocks.
From there, the floodgates opened for North Carolina. At one point, UNC stretched its lead to a 21-point margin. Syracuse was only able to come within nine points of the Tar Heels. Unlike the regular season matchup between these two teams, Carolina took care of the 'Cuse with ease, defeating the Orange 78-59.
One of the only bright spots in Syracuse's loss was Brissett's double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds. Outside of that, the Orange had many problems when it came to offense, especially the guard play.
Syracuse had 14 fewer assists than the Tar Heels.Battle and Frank Howard shot a combined 8-39 from the field. They also shot a horrendous 3-15 from behind the arc. For this Syracuse team, it is difficult for them to win when Battle and Howard do not show up.
With the loss, Syracuse has to await its fate on Selection Sunday. North Carolina advances to face Miami in the ACC tournament quarterfinals.
Now, it is unlikely the Orange will make the NCAA tournament. If SU is not selected, it would be the third time in four years that Syracuse would miss the Big Dance.