Syracuse Basketball

Eric Gallanty

The arena was filled from top to bottom with Duke fans, anticipating another instant classic against their team's newest rival.

The problem was, Syracuse didn't come ready for another prize fight.

The Syracuse offense was no match for the swarming Duke defense.  The Orange (18-11, 9-7 ACC) shot a season-low 30.6 percent from the field and fell flat in Cameron Indoor Stadium for a 73-54 defeat on Saturday night.  

"You've got to make shots to beat or to be in the game with the fourth ranked team in the country," Jim Boeheim said.

Brendan Glasheen (@BJ_Glash)

B.J. Johnson finally found his shooting touch -- and it couldn't have come at a better time for the Syracuse Orange.

With some of Syracuse's usual offensive options held in check, Johnson led all scorers with 19 points and the Orange beat No. 9/8 Notre Dame, 66-60, on the road on Tuesday night.  Syracuse improved to 18-10 on the season and 9-6 in ACC play.

Johnson lifted his team to its second top-12 win in a week on a night when many of his teammates sputtered or faced foul trouble.

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Syracuse kept chipping away at Pittsburgh's nine point lead, turning another disappointing showing into a dramatic comeback.

But like so often this season for the Orange, it came up just a little bit short.

A last minute comeback was derailed by a illegal screen call on Rakeem Christmas with 35.1 seconds left and the Pittsburgh Panthers escaped the Carrier Dome with a 65-61 win to sweep the season series and bolster their NCAA Tournament resume.

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Welcome back, Rakeem Christmas.

Christmas bounced back from his worst two-game stretch of the season and scored 29 points against No. 12 Louisville and had eight rebounds and four blocks.  It helped Syracuse get its first win of the season against a top 25 opponent, a 69-59 victory in the Carrier Dome on Wednesday night.  Coming into the game, the Orange was 0-4 against ranked teams this season.

"I was just getting the ball in the post and getting to the basket," Christmas said.  "We were wearing down their defense just getting to the basket and drawing a lot of fouls."

Syracuse Comes Up Short In Upset Bid Over No. 4 Duke

Feb 14, 2015
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Without the postseason to play for, all Syracuse could do was play spoiler in the third chapter of the ACC's newest rivalry.

The Orange gave a crowd of 35,466 an entertaining show, but it wasn't enough to add another instant classic to the rivalry against Duke.  There weren't any last second shots, last minute ejections or the same down to the wire drama that defined the first two matchups.

Only a good game between two teams playing pretty well.

Brendan Glasheen (@BJ_Glash)

For the first time in 21 games, Rakeem Christmas didn't score at least ten points.

For a change, it didn't matter.

Syracuse's leading scorer only had seven points, but four of his teammates scored in double figures and the Orange used its balanced scoring attack to roll over Boston College, 70-56, in an empty Conte Forum on Wednesday night.  The Orange completed a sweep on the season series against the Eagles, who lost their fifth conference game in a row.

@ZackMolle

The rematch at the Petersen Events Center came with almost all of the same drama, clutch shooting and questionable officiating as in last season's matchup, one that ended in Tyler Ennis' game-winning shot.

But this time, Pittsburgh flipped the script.

Jamel Artis' contested 3-pointer didn't come at the buzzer, but it gave the Panthers a comfortable five point lead with 30 seconds to play, enough to prevent an encore from last year's last second theatrics against the Orange.

SU Athletics

Not even another herculean effort by Trevor Cooney could save Syracuse this time.

The junior guard scored 28 points, but North Carolina pulled away in the second half for a 93-83 win in Chapel Hill over Syracuse (14-7, 5-3 ACC).  

"Trev shot the lights out the first half," Michael Gbinije said.  "It's tough. I thought we played our offense very well today and they just played better."

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Syracuse missed its chance at a double-digit point comeback by missing at the free throw line.

Rakeem Christmas scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half, almost single-handedly willing his team back against Miami.  The Hurricanes weren't able to stop him in the paint so they intentionally fouled Christmas to put him at the line with four seconds left and the Orange down by three.

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The stakes weren't quite as high as in Boston College's last trip to the Carrier Dome, a night that ended Syracuse's undefeated record and No. 1 ranking in an instant.

But this time, the final score was quite a bit different, too.

And this time, it only took 40 minutes.

The Orange avenged its overtime loss from last February by beating the Eagles, 69-61, in convincing fashion on Tuesday night.  Michael Gbinije scored a team-high 17 points and had four assists, giving the beleaguered Orange a much-needed win.

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