Missed jumpers, botched free throws result in close loss to Old Dominion

SU misses key shots in loss to Old Dominion

The Orange missed 12 free throws and went 16-48 in field goals.
Published: December 15, 2018
Bourama Sidibe gets blocked as he goes for up a shot during SU's loss to Old Dominion on Dec. 15, 2018, at the Carrier Dome. Sidibe ended the game without scoring.

A needless foul from Syracuse center Paschal Chukwu gave Old Dominion’s B.J. Stith three free foul shots, which Stith completed, to give the Monarchs a 54-53 lead over the Orange with 3:34 left in the game.

The Orange ended the first half with a 10-point lead after a back-and-forth contest and seemed comfortable in the second half until the Monarchs first caught up after a three from Marquis Godwin to tie the game 41-41. Syracuse went on to gain a four-point lead over ODU with about 7:35 left in the game, but Old Dominion took a one-point lead (51-50) after a three from Ahmad Caver.

“I thought they were more physical than we were – they made a couple big shots and we just did not finish,” Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim said. “Around the basket, we’ve got to shoot better than that and Tyus can’t really do it by himself. We’ve got to get him more help.”

Cuse finished 16-48 in field goals and 8-22 from deep. Typical high-scorer Oshae Brissett ended with only nine today while Elijah Hughes and Tyus Battle carried the team with 15 and 23 points, respectively.

Syracuse took the lead one more time after one good free throw each from Elijah Hughes and Frank Howard, but the Chukwu-Stith situation ultimately sealed the Orange’s fate.

Frank Howard shoots a free throw during SU's loss to Old Dominion on Dec. 15, 2018, at the Carrier Dome.

Overall, Syracuse went 22-34 from the foul line, giving up important points that could have won them the game.

At one point in the first half, the Orange went on a 12-point run until Old Dominion’s Marquis Godwin hit one from deep in their final possession of the half.

“We played very well the first half,” Boeheim said. “We had a breakdown at the end of the first half, [and] we let their shooter shoot a three. We never should have gotten that three, and it gave them some momentum coming in.”

A huge issue for the Orange was the lack of presence in their big men, Bourama Sidibe and Chukwu. Both players, who are 6’10” and 7’2” respectively, grabbed seven rebounds collectively — while 6’8” Brissett had six on his own. Not that Brissett is a small guy, but four inches makes a pretty big difference on the court.

“We’re completely overmatched in the center spot now, no matter who’s in there,” Boeheim said. “We have to play better at that position. We have to get more out of the center position to be successful.”

Neither Sidibe nor Chukwu scored against ODU, in fact, giving up many shooting opportunities underneath. At one point, Sidibe went into the game for Chukwu and immediately turned over the ball. These are mistakes Syracuse can’t afford to make.

“We need to get better, they’re better, I think top 10 team in the country,” Boeheim said of upcoming opponent No. 14 Buffalo. “We’re going to have to play a lot better than this,” Boeheim said.

SU will face Buffalo at home on Tuesday at 8 p.m.