Syracuse basketball came up just short vs NC State without the services of Elijah Hughes. Here’s how it all went down and why the Orange failed.
Syracuse basketball put up a solid effort but ultimately wasn’t able to overcome the loss of their leading scorer Elijah Hughes vs NC State losing 79-74.
Early in this game Syracuse basketball’s leading scorer, Elijah Hughes was taken out of the game. His thigh was heavily wrapped and he had an ice pack near his groin area.
The official update during the game from Syracuse’s SID Pete Moore labeled it a “lower-body” injury for Elijah Hughes and that his status would be updated when necessary.
When Hughes exited the game this Syracuse team looked stunned and couldn’t process what just happened. NC State continued to pile on both offensively and defensively with the Orange unable to do anything on the offensive side of the ball.
Just when it looked like this game was going to get out of hand Joe Girard III stepped up to the plate. JG3 attacked the cup, created some looks for his teammates, and drained a perimeter look.
The rest of the team seemed to feed off of his energy and suddenly the Orange got back into the game.
Later in the first half, the television broadcast on ESPN reported that Hughes suffered a “muscle strain” during pregame warmups and reaggravated the injury early in the game.
Despite the possibility that Hughes could return, he never did and his status for the upcoming game vs Florida State is very much in question.
At the half, the Orange trailed 39-35 and honestly considering all of the things going against the team: no Hughes, struggling Buddy Boeheim (1-for-9 from the field, 1-for-6 from deep), they should’ve been trailing by more. The team put up a valiant effort in the first half.
With the injury to Hughes, it forced Jim Boeheim to go deeper on the bench than he normally would. In addition to that, he didn’t have the option of putting Elijah in which meant that the role players who were in the game had a longer leash than normal.
Usually, when a youngster made a mistake he got immediately yanked, in this scenario the younger players had a chance to learn on the job which long term will be extremely beneficial.
Also, this strategy paid off some immediate dividends, Quincy Guerrier really got to show his full potential with more minutes than he’s been getting. Good aggressiveness on the inside, solid rebounding, and just great energy.
Quincy also helped force NC State into a precarious position from a foul trouble perspective on the inside. While at the same time protecting himself and staying clean.
Sadly the Orange just couldn’t overcome a late rally from NC State and they folded down the stretch:
- The team was atrocious from deep (3-of-18).
- Orange won the battle of the boards: 37-32.
- Syracuse forced 19 NC State turnovers.
Up next for the Orange is the hardest stretch of its season. First, they’ll take the road to play the Florida State Seminoles this Saturday, February 15 at noon then they’ll travel to play the Louisville Cardinals on the road next Wednesday, February 19 at 7:00 p.m.