Major Concerns Raised in Syracuse's Blowout Loss to Oklahoma State
Syracuse (4-2) had positive momentum heading into the NIT Season Tip-Off in Brooklyn. After a string of blowout wins, the preseason concerns many had about Syracuse Basketball faded away.
Then they played Oklahoma State.
The Cowboys (6-0) cruised to an 86-72 blowout win over the Orange, dictating a tempo Syracuse couldn’t match. Syracuse was outscored 35-16 on fastbreak points, and the rebounding issues that haunted Jim Boeheim’s squad last year flared up Wednesday night, with Oklahoma State winning the second chance points battle decidedly, 16-5.
Syracuse struggled from the field, a phrase all too familiar with the team in recent years, shooting 25% from three and 33% from the entire floor.
Although Elijah Hughes had a career night, scoring 28 points, he entered foul trouble early, picking up three before halftime, stalling the Syracuse offense. Trouble continued after the break, with Bourama Sidibe, Hughes, and forward Marek Dolezaj all picking up their fourth fouls early in the second half.
The voices of those concerned about the Orange’s lack of depth only grew louder after this game, as Syracuse only made one (1) field goal in the first half after Hughes left. Their performance was uninspiring in the second half as well, with Quincy Gurrier, Brycen Goodine, Jesse Edwards, and Robert Braswell all unable to chip into the lead Oklahoma State built.
Many were excited to see the new lineup with Joe Girard III against stiffer competition, and this proved to be an incredibly tough task against the Cowboys’ experienced backcourt. Girard had 5 turnovers and struggled against Isaac Likekele, who dominated this game on defense with 5 steals.
Coach Jim Boeheim touched on this in his post-game presser, explaining the team has “two young guards, trying to figure out what they’re doing out there.”
Likekele had 26 points, shooting 8-11 from the field, a majority of those being fast break layups before Syracuse could get back in transition. He added 8 assists and the aforementioned defensive effort.
An encouraging sign was the Orange’s half-court defense. Oklahoma State had 20 turnovers, most of them occurring against the 2-3 zone. Syracuse couldn’t capitalize, however, giving the ball right back to the Cowboys with 17 turnovers of their own.
Another positive is that Syracuse won’t have to wait long to get this bad taste out of their mouths. They’ll face another test Friday night against Penn State, closing out the consolation side of the NIT Season Tip-Off Bracket.