With only seven scholarship players available on Wednesday night, Syracuse (15-7, 4-5) lost at Georgia Tech (11-11, 4-5) in a tight contest, 55-51.
Tyus Battle, Frank Howard and Oshae Brissett played all 40 minutes of the contest. While they combined for 41 points, they also combined to go 12 for 44 shooting, just 27 percent. The Orange also committed 15 turnovers and registered just nine assists.
It was going to be a tough contest for Syracuse regardless of its bench depth, but with the announcement that Howard Washington will miss the rest of the season and Matthew Moyer playing limited minutes due to an ankle injury, the lack of depth amplified the Orange’s struggles.
To open the game, Georgia Tech went on a 14-5 run, forcing Syracuse to take some tough shots and commit five turnovers in the first nine minutes of play. The Orange trailed by as many as 10 points in the first half.
Brissett converted an and-one opportunity after contact on a smooth step-back jumper just before the break. Georgia Tech's Tadric Jackson and Howard exchanged threes in the final minute to put the score at 24-21 at halftime, with the Orange trailing.
Syracuse never let Georgia Tech pull away in the second half though. Battle brought the Orange within two after hitting a pair of free throws. The Yellow Jackets' leading scorer Josh Okogie knocked down a three seconds later to deny Syracuse the chance to tie or take the lead.
With Georgia Tech leading 39-28, Syracuse appeared to be fading. The Orange then scored six points in the course of 27 seconds. Bourama Sidibe made two shots from the line. Then 'Cuse jammed home two fastbreak dunks and the Orange trailed by just three.
Battle pulled Syracuse within three yet again with just over a minute to play. 'Cuse would draw no closer though, as buckets by Ben Lammers and Okogie put the game on ice.
The team shot just 30 percent from the field, tied for the worst mark this season along with the loss to St. Bonaventure. The 51 points scored was the second lowest output of the season as well, just ahead of when the Orange scored 49 against Notre Dame.
'Cuse also struggled on defense. It produced a season-low three steals and gave up 13 offensive rebounds to the Yellow Jackets.
Syracuse returns home to host second-ranked Virginia on Saturday. The ACC-leading Cavaliers defeated the Orange in Charlottesville earlier this season.