After winning 25 straight games, the Syracuse Orange are in unfamiliar territory as they are currently on a two-game losing streak. They will be looking to turn things around on Monday night as they trade to Maryland to take on the Terrapins.
The Orange, 25-2 (12-2), have seen their late-game heroics disappear, as they have lost two straight games that were decided by six points or less after winning their first eight games within that margin. The offense has struggled of late, as they have shot just 36 percent from the field in their last four games and 25 percent from three-point range.
If the Orange want to get back on track, they will need to get their offense going. A key part would be getting good shots for Trevor Cooney and Tyler Ennis, who have been ice cold from the field the past four games. Cooney has shot just 29 percent over that stretch and has hit only six of 23 three point attempts. Ennis, who shot 2-13 against Duke, is shooting 31 percent over that stretch. The Orange have only hit 14.6 percent of their shots outside of the paint in the past two games. These two guys will need to get open and knock down more shots to help create a more efficient offense.
The Terrapins, 15-12 (7-7), are not a strong defensive team so this could be a good opportunity for the Orange to break out of their slump. The Terps allow their opponents to shoot 35.3 percent from three (230th in the nation) and 42 percent from the field (117th in the nation).
The Terps also struggle on the offensive end, as they shoot just 43.9 percent from the field, 34.8 from three and just 66 percent from the free-throw line. On top of that, they turn the ball over 13 times per game. The Orange should look to force turnovers and run outs on rebounds and steals to get easy shots for guys like Cooney and Michal Gbinije in order to jump start their slumping offense.
Dez Wells, a junior guard, leads the Terrapins in scoring with 14.8 points per game on 48 percent shooting. Jake Layman, a 6’8″ guard/forward, can get hot from behind the three-point line, as he hits 39.7 percent of his shots from out there. If these two players get going, the Orange could be in for some trouble.
The Pick: The Orange went through a stretch last season where they lost five straight games and they made a run in the Big East tournament and made it to the Final Four, so two losses doesn’t mean people should be hitting the panic button. Three straight losses seems unlikely to happen, and since the Orange have been playing so well defensively it is inevitable that they will at least keep the game close if their offensive woes continue. I think the Orange go into College Park and snap the losing streak, they win 69-59.
Where: Comcast Center, College Park, Maryland
When: 7:00 p.m. ET