Two Struggling ACC Teams Get Set to Meet Inside the Dome on Tuesday
It’s been rough sledding for Syracuse as of late. Luckily for SU, the same can be said about its next opponent Clemson. WAER’s Doug Lattuca previews Tuesday’s matchup featuring two teams tied for 10th in the ACC.
Following a deflating 76-71 road loss to Florida State on Saturday, Syracuse (8-9, 2-4 ACC) shifts its focus to Clemson (10-7, 2-4 ACC). The Orange and Tigers do battle Tuesday at 9 pm inside the Carrier Dome.
Both teams are 2-4 in conference play and have hit a rough patch over the last five games or so. Clemson comes in losers of three of its last four games while Syracuse has dropped four of its last five. In those five contests, the Orange have had the lead or been tied at half in four of them. Additionally, the score has been decided by an average of just 3.5 points in SU’s last four losses.
Saturday’s loss to Florida State was the fifth time Syracuse has blown a halftime lead. Clearly, closing out games has been a real struggle for a team that’s under .500 this late in the season for the first time under head coach Jim Boeheim.
“I think we’re a good team,” forward Cole Swider said after the loss to Florida State. “I think we’ve lost a lot of close games. I think there are plays throughout the game that we can eliminate. Defensively, we can get better in certain situations. I think we’re right there. I think we just have to keep working, go back to practice tomorrow and get better and just prepare for Clemson and come out and play hard.”
Although positives have been hard to find, Cole Swider has been a bright spot as of late. The Villanova transfer has scored double-figures in the last four games and in seven of his last eight including 17 in the loss to Florida State. The senior is averaging 7.5 rebounds and shooting 43.4% in the previous four games.
“I don’t measure my success by how many points I score,” Swider said. “I go into the gym every day and work hard. I do all the right things and the results will come but obviously, all I want to do is win with this team. My confidence will always be there. I’m going to keep shooting. I’m going to keep being an aggressive player and hopefully, that leads to some wins for us in the future.”
Clemson isn’t led by one player. Instead, the Tigers have three different players leading in points, assists, and rebounds. Sophomore forward PJ Hall averages 14.5 points per game, while senior guard David Collins corrals 7.1 boards per contest and junior guard Nick Honor assists on almost three buckets per outing (2.9).
Additionally, both teams use their benches differently. Clemson has eight players averaging over 14 minutes per game with the highest total being junior guard Al-Amir Dawes with 32. In comparison, Syracuse has just five with four out of its five starters playing over 33 minutes per night.
In the last four games between these two schools, Clemson has won three times, but Syracuse has the most recent victory back on March 3, 2021. In this series, the home team has won six straight and eight of the last ten.
WAER will have full game coverage of Tuesday’s game starting at 8:30 p.m. with GZA Countdown to Tipoff. That will lead you up to the tipoff at 9 p.m.