Syracuse basketball suffers fourth straight loss, 96-76

Syracuse basketball suffers fourth straight loss, 96-76

Orange fans depart early from SU-Georgia Tech game with poor defensive performance.
Published: February 28, 2023
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Georgia Tech's Lance Terry (0) shoves into Syracuse's Judah Mintz while making his way to the basket during an ACC men's basketball game on Tuesday, February 28, 2023, at JMA Wireless Dome.

Going into their penultimate regular season game of the year against Georgia Tech, Jim Boeheim and company were in search of some juice, some energy, after an abysmal three-game stretch that resulted in all three opponents lighting them up from behind the arc, obliterating their defense, and most importantly, shredding all hopes of a return to the NCAA Tournament.

The poor defense, the lethargic play, and the lack of effort continued Tuesday, as the Orange lost to the Yellow Jackets 96-76. 

To start the game, SU was anything but energized, giving up second chance opportunities, allowing the Yellow Jackets to get all over the court, and playing sloppy defense that led to Georgia Tech getting up as much as 13 points in the first half. Boos swarmed from the student section as the defense perpetually got obliterated possession after possession.

At the end of the first half, Syracuse was down nine points, allowing a whopping 10 threes, 17 assists, and losing the rebounding advantage by six even though the Orange had a significant size advantage. 

Going into the second half, it was more of the same from Syracuse, not getting defensive rebounds, and then less than three minutes into the frame, the Orange’s halftime deficit was more than doubled.

The boos continued to grow and Georgia Tech, a team that going into the game was ranked 13th out of 15 Atlantic Coast Conference teams in 3-point percentage, continued to tear the Orange offense up. 

Throughout the final 20 minutes of the game, the Orange made a few small runs to trim the lead and the crowd at times was somewhat rejuvenated from their gloomy state, but overall, Georgia Tech’s lead remained unhinged. The Yellow Jackets picked up their thirteenth win of the season and set their school record for 3-pointers made in a game with 18. 

Freshman point guard Judah Mintz and center Jesse Edwards carried the team with Mintz totaling 23 points and seven assists paired with Edwards’ 18 points.

Joseph Girard III and Mintz both struggled from above the arc with Girard shooting 2-for-6 and Mintz making just one of six 3-point attempts.

With more than a quarter of the second half left, many Syracuse fans started to make their way to the exit signs as Georgia Tech’s lead continued to balloon, at one point tripling their margin from half. By the time the final buzzer ran, the passionate, supportive Orange fan base was nowhere to be found figuratively and literally. 

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Syracuse's Jesse Edwards (14) fights for possession of the ball from Georgia Tech's Dallan 'Deebo' Coleman (3).
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The Syracuse bench looks on as the the starting line-up is subbed out with 2 minutes left in the game and a 20-point plus deficit against Georgia Tech.

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Georgia Tech's Lance Terry (0) and Miles Kelly (13) celebrate a 20-point lead over Syracuse.

With another humiliating defensive performance, Syracuse basketball’s iconic 2-3 zone’s effectiveness will continue to be questioned.  The Orange have lost four straight games by double-digits.

“We can’t stop anybody,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said after the game. “We just have not been able to stop anybody four games in a row.”

“That’s on me, it’s my defense and we’re not able to stop anybody with it,” he said.

The Orange are now 16-14 and will host Wake Forest (18-12) Saturday at 5 p.m. for their Senior Day and regular season finale. There will also be a celebration for the 20th anniversary of Syracuse men’s basketball’s first and only national championship. 

There are three Syracuse seniors who will be honored: Jesse Edwards, Joseph Girard III and Symir Torrence.