Fast reaction: 3 quick takeaways from Syracuse’s 84-66 loss at No. 15 Notre Dame
Colin Davy | Asst. Photo Editor
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Syracuse continues to look lost on the road, as No. 15 Notre Dame (17-3, 6-1 Atlantic Coast) ran away with a 84-66 win over SU (11-9, 3-4 ACC) in an afternoon tilt on Saturday in the Purcell Pavilion.
Here are three quick takeaways from the bout.
Stuck in place
As much as it has all season, Syracuse struggled to move the ball within its offense. SU dished a season-low seven assists in the loss, beating out the previous season-worst performances against South Carolina, Wisconsin and Connecticut (nine assists each). The Orange finished the first half with only two helpers, the first not coming until 2:22 remained in the first half.
Tyler Lydon finished the first half with a team-high 12 points, most of which he spent posting up against UND’s frontcourt. When Lydon did get the ball in his hands, he was very effective. But far too often, the Orange struggled to make that entry pass. Syracuse was pegged for eight first-half turnovers, a number that doesn’t reflect the several tipped passes targeted at Lydon that were whisked out of bounds by the Fighting Irish.
The second half began with a nifty dish from John Gillon to Lydon underneath the hoop, which he finished with a two-hand flush. But the narrative never really changed. Poor decisions with the ball, such as Gillon heaving a full-court inbound pass to Battle that nearly carried the freshman out of bounds, haunted the Orange to the buzzer.
Given that SU struggled to move the ball, it tried for plenty of open looks at the start of possessions. That strategy sunk Syracuse to a 23 percent shooting clip midway through the first half before the visitors rebounded to shoot 46.4 percent in the second stanza. Lydon finished with a team-high 24 points and was again the Orange’s leading man on offense.
Outside of Lydon, there wasn’t much to say about the supporting cast. In successive first-half possessions, Tyus Battle missed a breakaway layup, Tyler Roberson missed an open dunk and Battle missed a clean look from 3. The crux of Syracuse’s season-long struggle has been defense. That was part of the issue on Saturday, but Syracuse’s shooters couldn’t convert on many of their best looks all afternoon.
A quiet return
As Notre Dame looked poised to run away with the game early, SU head coach Jim Boeheim did something he’s done only once since conference play began: call on Dajuan Coleman. The veteran big man recorded his first minutes since playing only seconds against Miami on Jan. 4. Boeheim previously said Coleman’s knees have kept him out off the court, but he looked to be moving OK on Saturday.
He finished the game with seven rebounds in 23 minutes. It was his first game with double-digit minutes since Syracuse’s 33-point loss to St John’s on Dec. 21. Coleman looked much better on the boards than he did with the ball in his hands. He was hesitant early, dishing several passes that were tipped by Notre Dame defenders, but improved as the game went on.
Highlighting his five-point game was a clean dunk with just over seven minutes left in the game. But with Syracuse facing a 15-point deficit at the time, it didn’t leave any imprint on the final score.
Published on January 21, 2017 at 2:01 pm