In their last home game of the season, the Syracuse Orange lost for the fourth time in their last five games, falling to Georgia Tech 67-62.
This is the second time this season that the Orange have lost on their home court to one of the bottom three teams in the ACC. The Yellow Jackets had just four wins in conference play coming into Tuesday night’s matchup. The Orange, 26-4 (13-4), were led by senior C.J. Fair, who tied a career-high with 28 points while grabbing eight rebounds in the final home game of his career. Tyler Ennis added 18 points and seven assists. Trae Golden led the way for the Yellow Jackets, scoring 16 points and he hit all eight of his free throw attempts. Daniel Miller also played very well with 15 points, six rebounds and six blocks.
The Orange had a 9-8 lead with 13 and a half minutes left in the first half and that would be the last time they were in front. The Yellow Jackets out scored the Orange 23-14 to finish the half and took a 31-23 lead into the locker room. Ennis scored the last nine points of the half for the Orange to keep the game from getting out of control. The second half was more of the same as the Yellow Jackets did a great job of picking apart Syracuse’s 2-3 zone and brought their lead up to as much as 12 points.
Not only did the Yellow Jackets do well running their half court offense but they also did a good job of breaking Syracuse’s full court pressure defense. With less than five minutes left, the Orange found themselves down 59-47. This is when they started to turn things up a notch. A three by Fair, two more buckets and a three by Trevor Cooney cut the lead to just four points, but Golden hit all six of his free throw attempts down the stretch to help his team hold off a late push from the seventh-ranked team in the nation.
It was another off night on the offensive end for the Orange. They shot just 39 percent from the field and made only five of 17 three-point attempts. Fair and Ennis combined for 46 of the teams 62 points while shooting 45 percent from the field. The rest of the team combined to shoot just 6-22 from the field. Cooney had another off night, going 3-12 from the field and hitting just one of his eight three-point attempts. They also shot 7-16 from the free throw line as a team, compared to the 15-21 for the Yellow Jackets.
Not only did the offense struggle, but so did the defense. The Orange were out rebounded 31-25 and only forced nine turnovers, and Georgia Tech also shot 47 percent from the field.
Sophomore Jerami Grant didn’t play for the Orange due to lingering back issues. His 11.8 points and 6.7 rebounds per game were definitely missed. Freshman Tyler Roberson started in his place for the first time in his career. He scored just two points on 1-4 shooting.
The Orange will wrap up the regular season on the road as they travel to Tallahassee to take on Florida State Sunday. Tip is at 2 p.m. ET.