After overcoming multiple second-half deficits during its five-game win streak, the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team’s comeback came up short at Pittsburgh (14-11, 3-9 ACC) on Saturday afternoon, losing 80-75. SU (16-10, 8-5 ACC) had topped the Panthers, 77-66, in early January, but failed to complete the season sweep at the Petersen Events Center. Here are three takeaways from the Orange’s loss:
Despite comeback, double-digit deficit doomed SU
A jumper by guard Tyus Battle put the Orange ahead 15-10 eight minutes into the game. But, Pittsburgh closed the half’s final two minutes on an 8-2 run to take a 35-28 lead at the break. By the 14:51 mark of the second half, the Panthers had increased their advantage to double-digits, forcing Syracuse to extend its defense.
Despite a frantic comeback by the Orange in the game’s final minutes—a 3-pointer by John Gillon cut the Panthers lead to just three with seven seconds left—SU failed to overcome its large deficit.
White, Gillon stay hot
Andrew White III scored 13 of his 20 points in the second half to keep Syracuse in the game late. Overall, the graduate transfer knocked down 7 of his 16 shots from the field and hit three shots from behind the 3-point line on eight attempts. White has scored 20 or more points in six straight games and has reached double-figures in all but one of SU’s 26 contests. He is averaging a team-high 17.7 points per game on the season.
Gillon played all but one minute against the Panthers Saturday, finishing with 20 points. He has reached that figure in three of Syracuse’s last five games—including a 43-point performance in the Orange’s overtime victory over N.C. State earlier this month. He had scored 20 points in just one of SU’s first 21 games this season.
Syracuse gets big contributions off the bench
After starting SU’s first 14 games, guard Frank Howard has seen his playing time cut significantly during ACC play. Howard played under 10 minutes in each of the Orange’s last four games and combined for more turnovers, six, than points, five, during those contests. But, against Pittsburgh, Howard made a major impact. He played 25 minutes, finished with 12 points—the first time he reached double-figure scoring totals since Dec. 19 against Eastern Michigan—and hit all five of his free throw attempts.
Tyler Roberson also added eight points and five rebounds in 24 minutes, giving SU a total of 20 points off the bench, its highest mark in ACC play.
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