Men's Basketball

Fast reaction: 3 quick takeaways from Syracuse’s 83-73 loss at Virginia Tech

Colin Davy | Asst. Photo Editor

Taurean Thompson played 32 minutes for the Orange on Tuesday. He contributed 18 points and 8 rebounds.

BLACKSBURG, Va. — Syracuse (10-7, 2-2 Atlantic Coast) dropped to .500 in the ACC with a 83-73 loss to Virginia Tech (13-3, 2-2) on Tuesday night at Cassell Coliseum. The Orange fell behind by as many as 15 and never recovered despite a late comeback attempt.

Here are three takeaways from the game.

Syracuse’s interior defense struggled

The Orange allowed Virginia Tech bigs Zach LeDay and Chris Clarke to get free in the low post and it resulted in several uncontested baskets, especially early in the first half. They combined for three easy dunks in the first eight minutes of the game off passes from the outside. As the half continued, Syracuse’s wings — often Tyler Roberson, Andrew White or Tyler Lydon — began pinching in.

With the center — Lydon or Taurean Thompson — sliding up to cover the high post, the wings defended the low post. The adjustment worked a bit after that, but Clarke and LeDay still combined for 20 first-half points.

In the second half, the Orange’s defense tightened up, but the duo still finished with 39 combined points. After Syracuse cut the deficit to three with 10 minutes left, LeDay got into the sweet spot again and finished.

Even with less space to operate, LeDay and Clarke slipped into the holes.

Tyler Lydon ineffective after taking a fall

Late in the first half, Syracuse sophomore forward Tyler Lydon fell down while attempting a fadeaway baseline jumper. He got up limping with an apparent lower left leg injury and tried to get back on defense, but the Hokies scored before he could get back, unable to run at full speed.

Lydon finished with just two points, tied for a season-low. He played throughout the second half, until being subbed out in the last four mintues, but didn’t appear to be running at full speed. With Syracuse trailing, 54-48, he attempted a 3 from the top of the key but it rimmed out.

While Lydon wasn’t effective, the rest of the Orange’s offense struggled as well.

Orange’s offense hits a wall

Virginia Tech went on an 8-0 run early in the second half to open up a 12-point lead. The run came mostly as a result of Syracuse miscues. An airball by White, a travel by White and a ball thrown into traffic that left Battle scrambling on the floor led to opportunities for the Hokies.

Virginia Tech’s Ahmed Hill hit a corner 3 in front of his bench to make it 45-33 with 16 minutes to play. Syracuse was forced to call a timeout and while the Orange cut the deficit to as few as three points, it could never get over the hump.

The Hokies scored 17 points off turnovers, a reflection of how the Orange’s miscues led to easy baskets.

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