Syracuse spoils last chance at a road win before postseason play in 88-68 loss to No. 7 Louisville

first_imgLOUISVILLE, Ky. — The opportunity existed for Syracuse to change the narrative. After pulling off its latest Carrier Dome magic trick, a banked 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat No. 10 Duke, SU hit the road with as much momentum it’s had since winning five in a row almost three weeks ago.The season-long road struggles seemed like a distant memory, and a win in the arena of the country’s seventh-ranked team would likely seize an NCAA Tournament bid. This time was going to be different, until it wasn’t.Tyler Lydon committed a shot clock violation on Syracuse’s first possession. Twenty-one 3-pointers went awry. Louisville led by double figures the entire second half. Sunday’s game ended the same way seven other road games have this season, but this one had more of a lasting touch to it: SU’s 20-point loss was its largest conference loss since joining the Atlantic Coast Conference three seasons ago.“Yeah of course it’s (frustrating),” freshman Taurean Thompson said. “We wanted to come in and beat them in their house, but we didn’t. We just have to deal with it.”There isn’t much time left for the Orange to deal with anything. After No. 7 Louisville (23-6, 11-5 ACC) romped Syracuse (17-13, 9-8), 88-68, only one regular season game remains before the ACC tournament begins in just over a week. The Barclays Center, home of this year’s conference tournament, is the last proving ground SU has to impress the NCAA Tournament selection committee and cure its inefficiencies away the Carrier Dome.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBecause if there’s one word that embodies the Orange’s performance in the KFC Yum! Center on Sunday afternoon, it’s inefficient. Shooting behind the arc, driving the paint and holding onto the ball were all sources of frustration against UofL.“It’s tough, man,” senior point guard John Gillon said. “We played five games in 15 days, so I know everybody’s a little tired.“Every loss is disappointing and it’s hard to move past it, but that’s what we have to do.”Even when Syracuse combined to lose by 35 in consecutive road games against North Carolina and Notre Dame, SU toyed with a comeback in the second half. It began the second half against the Fighting Irish down seven, and used a 12-0 run to trim UNC’s lead down to three.But against the Cardinals, it was Syracuse getting toyed with. Andrew White scored his first points of the game with 9:06 remaining to close the gap to 11, but that’s as close as the Orange got in the second half. SU led for only two minutes and 10 seconds on Sunday, all of which came in a brief first-half stretch where UofL shot 0-for-5 and turned the ball over five times.Louisville rebounded by going on a 23-4 run. Syracuse never did.“It is what it is,” sophomore Frank Howard said. “They’re a great team, they’re at home. It’s always hard to beat a team when they’re at home. It’s just how the game went.“We can’t do anything about it now.”Given how this season has gone, it would be to no one’s surprise if SU dominated a Georgia Tech team it already lost to on the road. Saturday’s game will be the fourth home-and-home series the Orange has played this year. The first two, against Boston College and Pittsburgh, Syracuse won in the Carrier Dome and lost on the road. The third, against Louisville, SU nearly came back on the Cardinals in an overtime loss at home, then fell in a dud game on Sunday.It’s more matter of fact than an educated guess at this point in the year: The Orange can hardly compete, not to mention beat, the same kind of teams on the road that it can at home. The clock has run out for Syracuse to steal a big game on another team’s court.“OK, we lost on the road,” Thompson said. “I don’t think it’s (fans) cheering against us or anything. I think it’s just basketball.”The freshman might be right, and SU could still go on a run if it makes the NCAA Tournament. But if the Orange aspired to pull off a postseason like last year’s, it felt like Sunday’s contest should have been different than the preceding road games. It wasn’t. Comments Published on February 26, 2017 at 7:03 pm Contact Connor: cgrossma@syr.edu | @connorgrossman Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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