On Dec. 12, Syracuse opened its Atlantic Coast Conference road schedule with an impressive 38-point win over Boston College. Since then, the last four road trips have not gone well for the Orange, who Tuesday night visit North Carolina State in Raleigh, N.C.
The Orange (10-6, 4-5 ACC) lost their second road game by six at North Carolina on Jan. 12 but in losses to Pittsburgh, Virginia and Clemson, the average margin of defeat has been 20 points. On Saturday, the road woes continued when Syracuse shot a season-worst 30 percent in a 78-61 loss at Clemson.
The Orange made only 5 of 20 attempts from 3-point range and are shooting just 19.7 percent (13 of 66) from behind the arc in their last three road games. Saturday’s loss came against the ACC’s worst offensive team as Syracuse’s 2-3 zone allowed a season-worst 52.9 percent from the floor. The poor defense occurred when the Orange made just three baskets in the first half and were held to 19 points by halftime.
“We were no good on offense tonight,” said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, whose team has the second-highest scoring offense in the ACC. “We have to play well on offense to have a chance to win games. We’re not going to win games with our defense.”
The Orange are hoping to get better showings from the likes of Alan Griffin and Buddy Boeheim, who were a combined 5 of 26 from the floor Saturday. Joseph Girard III led the Orange with 19 points.
North Carolina State (8-7, 4-6) has dropped six of its last eight games since opening league play with wins over North Carolina and Boston College in December. Four of the Wolfpack’s ACC defeats are by single digits and that includes a 76-73 loss at Syracuse on Jan. 31 when North Carolina State blew a nine-point halftime lead.
After losing at Syracuse, North Carolina State dropped a seven-point decision to Virginia on Wednesday before getting an 81-65 win at Boston College on Saturday when it bolted to a 37-8 lead in the first 15 minutes against an opponent playing for the first time in three weeks with six scholarship players available.
“It was a great game, because we needed to win, especially because I wanted these guys to be able to feel good about themselves,” Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts said.
Freshman guard Shakeel Moore led the Wolfpack with a career-high 19 points for his first double-figure game since Dec. 30. Jericole Hellems added 11 and is hoping for another big game against the Orange after getting 24 and 10 rebounds in the first meeting.
–Field Level Media