Trevor Cooney exploded for a team-high 25 points, saving the Orange from an embarrassing home loss to Louisiana Tech. It was a season-high for Cooney, just eight days after scoring a season-low two points against St. John's.
In that game, Cooney made just 1-of-6 shots, missed all four threes and continued Syracuse's miserable year of outside shooting. In this one, he shot 4-8 from behind-the-arc, while taking over ball handling duties at points in the game.
Jim Boeheim said that his team saved its best game for its best opponent. But his two freshmen saved their worst moments for the final minute against No. 17 Michigan.
The Orange had eliminated the Wolverines’ 10-point lead, tying the game with 56 seconds to play. Then Kaleb Joseph and Chris McCullough both turned the ball over with less than 20 seconds left and Syracuse trailing by one.
“You can’t do that and win games,” Boeheim said after the game.
The 2014 football season that began with a pair of wins for Syracuse came to a merciful end on Saturday with a fifth straight loss, a quarterback controversy and bunch of question marks heading into the offseason.
Syracuse’s season finale concluded like so many other games throughout the year – good defense, bad offense and a few head scratching plays in between.
They had just a one-point lead midway through the first half – thanks to a 3-10 shooting start – and the Orange offense looked on its way to another questionable scoring output. Syracuse didn’t make a three-pointer all night, an all-time low on a team that already struggles in that department.
The shots, again, just wouldn’t fall.
Then Kaleb Joseph drove coast-to-coast and rolled in a righty floater off the glass to give Syracuse a 10-7 lead at the 12:17 mark. Joseph’s leaner started an overpowering 31-10 run by the Orange to end the first half.