Men's Basketball

What we learned from Syracuse’s 84-66 loss at No. 15 Notre Dame

Colin Davy | Asst. Photo Editor

Steve Vasturia (left) had 11 points, combining with three other UND players who scored more than him to rout SU.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The latest episode in Syracuse’s worsening season came in the form of Saturday’s dud at No. 15 Notre Dame (17-3, 6-1 Atlantic Coast), where SU (11-9, 3-4) lost 84-66 at the Purcell Pavilion. Tyler Lydon once again carried SU with a team-high 24 points, but like Monday’s visit to North Carolina, his standout showing wasn’t nearly enough. Syracuse allowed an opposing player to score 30 or more points for the fourth time this year, equaling disaster for an SU team that sits only two games above .500.

Here’s what we learned from Syracuse fourth loss in ACC play.

Jim Boeheim is on his last string with select players

Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim is about nine months removed from saying he’s the happiest he’s been in 40 years as a head coach. Granted, that was after Syracuse’s Final Four loss to North Carolina, a game nobody gave SU the chance to play in the first place. But oh, what nine months can do, let alone one game, to a coach’s mood.

After Saturday’s loss to Notre Dame, the only visible frustration with a specific player was when Boeheim ordered Tyler Roberson back into the locker room as reporters approached. When the senior tried to leave, the head coach pulled Roberson aside for a talk that didn’t exactly seem lighthearted.

But in his press conference following the loss, it was clear that more than Roberson is getting on his last nerve. The head coach pinpointed the team’s two seniors as vastly underperforming, though there might be others on his list.

“I can’t even describe how disappointed I am in a couple guys on our team,” Boeheim said.

Syracuse continues to be susceptible to breakout games from lesser heralded players

First it was a 30-point showing from North Florida’s Dallas Moore. Then a 34-point outing on 10 3-pointers from Boston University’s Cedric Hankerson. On New Year’s Day, Boston College freshman Ky Bowman torched the Orange for 30 points.

They may not have been players on the forefront of SU’s scouting report, but they have made the SU defense pay in a big way with dominating games even though each has lost at least once to the Orange. Saturday was no different, as Notre Dame’s V.J. Beachem went off for a career-high 30 points on 12-of-22 shooting, including six made 3-pointers.

Steve Vasturia and Matt Farrell are the Fighting Irish’s big names, but the 6-foot-8 Beachem exploded for a career day to bury Syracuse and further illustrate why a player of his stature with such a vast skill set is hardly a suitable recipe for the zone.

“Beachem, we just couldn’t get to him. We gave him too many looks,” Boeheim said. “I thought we did a pretty good job on some of the other guys, but he’s a tremendous shooter and we just didn’t get to him.”


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It doesn’t look like Syracuse will get a jolt from the point guard spot anytime soon

It doesn’t seem to matter whether Frank Howard plays 30 minutes and John Gillon plays 10, or the other way around. The Orange is getting nothing from its point guards.

Saturday, the pair combined for four points on 2-of-6 shooting. Gillon was visibly frustrated on the bench, glancing down to Boeheim when Howard missed a shot at one point in the game. Given recent success of Syracuse point guards such as Michael Gbinije, Tyler Ennis and Michael Carter-Williams, it’s no wonder why the position’s struggles are sticking out like a sore thumb.

“I don’t think I’ve ever not won an away game before,” Gillon said “so yeah, it’s a lot different.”

SU’s 0-7 record on the road this season may not be something Gillon has experienced himself, but such poor play from its floor generals is something Boeheim hasn’t experienced in the past several years either.

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