What we learned from Syracuse’s 85-68 loss to North Carolina

first_imgCHAPEL HILL, N.C. – For the fifth straight time, North Carolina got the best of Syracuse. The latest edition came in a Final Four rematch that the No. 9 Tar Heels (17-3, 5-1 Atlantic Coast) won, 85-68, over the Orange (11-8, 3-3) in the Dean Smith Center on Monday night. UNC outrebounded SU by 20 overall and 12 on the offensive glass, and a combined 30 second-half points from Tyler Lydon and Andrew White wasn’t nearly enough as the Orange dropped to .500 in conference play.Here’s what we learned from Syracuse’s 17-point loss.Even the Orange’s best showing away from home wasn’t nearly good enoughSyracuse has certainly laid some eggs away from the Carrier Dome this season, most notably a 50-point dud at Madison Square Garden in a two-point loss to Connecticut and a 15-point defeat to Boston College at Conte Forum. Add losses to South Carolina, Wisconsin, Virginia Tech and now UNC, and the Orange is 0-6 outside the Carrier Dome.Even though Monday night’s loss to the Tar Heels tied SU’s largest defeat on the road or a neutral court this season, head coach Jim Boeheim stressed the silver lining his team can take away from its eighth loss of the season.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAfter all, SU shot 41.7 percent from deep and over 44 percent from the field. SU is still the best foul-shooting team in conference play (81.9 percent). And despite getting clobbered on the boards, Syracuse held UNC to below 30 percent from 3-point range and chipped significantly into double-digit deficits on several occasions.“I thought we played the best that we’ve played all year on the road. When you make a couple mistakes against them, they take advantage of it,” Boeheim said. “It doesn’t look like it with the final score, but I thought we showed a lot of good things.”Syracuse has a problem at point guard that doesn’t have a solutionFor the second straight game, John Gillon struggled on the offensive end. On Monday night, he shot 1-of-7 from the field and scored only four points. The difference from SU’s 23-point win against Boston College, in which the fifth-year senior scored four points on 1-of-6 shooting, was that this time Syracuse couldn’t afford it.“I know I didn’t have a big scoring night,” Gillon said on Saturday, “but we played such good defense I didn’t have to score at all this game.”On Gillon’s first shot of the game with only 1:07 gone, he had a floater rejected by Justin Jackson. Boeheim immediately summoned Frank Howard from the bench, who in short order returned to the sideline following a sloppy turnover near midcourt. He didn’t come back into the game.SU’s only other option at the point is Battle, but bringing the ball up would restrict his ability to attack from the wing. So when asked what Gillon did to earn 38 minutes to Howard’s one, Boeheim answered bluntly.“What’s the difference?”Andrew White is still fairly one-dimensionalEven though White scored 15 points, 12 of them coming in the second half, they all came on 3-pointers.White continues to struggle creating his own shot, and is often the benefactor of screens and his ability to find an open space when his teammates are pressured. Rarely have we seen the fifth-year senior create his own jumper off the dribble or finish a drive to the rim.“(Justin) Jackson did a great job,” Boeheim said of the UNC forward who guarded White. “White had at least four really good opportunities getting to the basket and nothing happened.”Granted, he’s still providing SU with substantial scoring numbers, but the expansion of his game would do wonders for a Syracuse offense that couldn’t do enough to overcome rebounding woes against the Tar Heels. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on January 16, 2017 at 11:16 pmlast_img read more