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Syracuse Loses Another Close Game, Splits Season Series with Florida State

Coach Jim Boeheim gestures towards Orange leading scorer Buddy Boeheim.
Coach Jim Boeheim gestures towards Orange leading scorer Buddy Boeheim.

Syracuse men’s basketball hung tough, but ultimately faltered down the stretch on Saturday in a 76-71 loss to Florida State.  WAER’s Dan Mallea examines what went wrong for the Orange in the second half.

After a promising win over Pittsburgh, Syracuse (8-9, 2-4 ACC) fell to Florida State (10-5, 4-2 ACC) in the Dome 76-71 on Saturday to drop below .500 midway through the season.

The first half of this one was an offensive showcase, with both teams shooting better than 50% from the field, as well as from three point range. But as the second half got underway, the Orange offense stalled a bit, while the Seminoles continued to light it up.

“We just weren’t as effective defensively as we need to be,” Coach Jim Boeheim said, “they shot it really well. They made some long threes, some tough threes, but we have to defend better than we did.”

Florida State shot 70% from behind the arc in the final 20 minutes, and 56% overall from the field in that span. Syracuse on the other hand mustered just 30% from deep and 40.7% from the floor after halftime. Despite those shooting numbers, Cuse had chances to win this game. The Orange went on a 12-2 run to take a three point lead with less than seven minutes left before the ‘Noles fought back.

SU even had a shot to take the lead with nine seconds left, but a floater attempt by Jimmy Boeheim hit the rim and fell short, though Coach Jim Boeheim felt there was a missed call on the play.

“We got what we wanted, even at the end, the last play,” said Coach Boeheim, “We wanted to get it inside and got it to Jesse (Edwards) and he didn’t think he had it, so he got it to Jimmy (Boeheim) and I thought it was a foul there and it just wasn’t called.”

Jimmy Boeheim skies for a two-hand dunk in the first half against FSU.
Jimmy Boeheim skies for a two-hand dunk in the first half against FSU.

Another staple of Syracuse’s offense this season was on display Saturday, in the Orange’s lack of bench production. Florida State deployed a deep rotation, with eleven players notching at least ten minutes played, resulting in 29 bench points. Cuse got just four points off its bench, all from Symir Torrence. Torrence was used to counter FSU’s size with a smaller and faster lineup, but that didn’t deter the Seminoles.

“They made good adjustments, they obviously kept on getting in the middle,” forward Cole Swider said, “they made some really tough shots. I thought (Caleb) Mills made a couple really tough shots over Joe (Girard).”

Seminoles guard Caleb Mills plagued the Orange for a game-high 19 points, and shot an efficient 5-6 from three point range. Syracuse had some good performances on its side as well, Buddy Boeheim, Jesse Edwards, and Cole Swider all finished with 15 or more points.

Swider in particular scored 17 and added seven rebounds, shooting 4-7 from deep. That’s tied for the second most threes the Villanova transfer has cashed in this season, but he wasn’t satisfied postgame.

“All I want to do is win with this team,” said Swider, “a performance like this doesn’t do anything for me when we don’t win.”

The only Orange starter that failed to reach double digit scoring was Jimmy Boeheim. The graduate student finished with just six points on 3-9 shooting, his second lowest output of the season. It was also the first time in six games that the forward failed to make a three pointer, and the first time all season he didn’t even attempt one.

Syracuse hits the hardwood again on Tuesday night for its first and only matchup with Clemson this year inside the Dome. WAER’s coverage will begin at 8:30 p.m. with GZA Countdown to Tipoff.