The Syracuse Orange (16-12, 8-7) were in a familiar position in the last minute of Sunday's sellout game in Atlanta. Unfortunately for coach Boeheim and the Orange, now just 2-7 on the road this year, the 71-65 loss was a familiar sight as well.
With Syracuse down two and less than twenty seconds left in the game, an official called senior forward Tyler Roberson for a moving screen as he set a pick for guard John Gillon. Roberson appeared to be set on the play, but could only put his hands on his head after the call robbed the Orange of a chance at another miracle finish on the road.
Despite the unusual call at the end of the game, this loss falls on the Orange offense, who struggled to find their groove all game. Senior guard John Gillon and forward Tyler Lydon both average more than ten points a game for the Orange. Sunday, the duo combined to go 5-21 from the field and scored just seven points each. To his credit, Lydon led the team in rebounds with 15. Gillon led the team in assists with 6.
As a team, 'Cuse shot 25-70 from the field, including 8-30 from deep. Georgia Tech (16-11, 7-7) on the other hand, attempted 12 3-pointers, and shot almost 50% from the field on Sunday. Luckily for the Orange, both teams struggled out of the gate, combining to make only 14 shots in the first 15 minutes of game time.
Early in the second half, an Andrew White III turnover sparked a 14-2 Georgia Tech run, giving them a double digit lead. The Yellow Jackets held onto that large lead until the Syracuse full-court press enabled a comeback with just 3 minutes left.
After storming back from down ten, the Orange failed to make a basket in the final minute, closing out another close road loss for the struggling Orange team.
The lone bright spot for Syracuse was the strong play of Taurean Thompson. The freshman led the team with 18 points, and also added 12 rebounds and three blocks. Thompson's 33 minutes is a new career high, made even more impressive by the fact that he played the last ten minutes of the game with four fouls, one short of fouling out.
The star of the game for the Yellow Jackets was center Ben Lammers, who dominated the Orange down low for all 40 minutes of the game. Lammers, who wears #44 for Georgia Tech, finished the game with 23 points and all seven of his team's blocks.
After three straight losses, the Orange will welcome #12 Duke to the Carrier Dome on Wednesday in an absolute must-win game. With a win, Syracuse will still need to win their final two games against Louisville and Georgia Tech to secure a spot in the NCAA tournament. Syracuse has lost to both Louisville and Georgia Tech this season.
Things may be looking blue for the Orange, but remember: If any team knows a thing or two about an unlikely NCAA tournament run, it's Jim Boeheim's squad.