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Syracuse basketball is crushed by Duke in virtually every facet of ugly loss

Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

Last Tuesday night on the Hill, the Syracuse basketball trio of primary guards was fabulous as the Orange beat Clemson by double-digits.

This Saturday afternoon versus No. 6 Duke down in Durham, N.C., junior reserve guard Symir Torrence played pretty darn well. However, the ‘Cuse starting guards, senior Buddy Boeheim and junior Joe Girard III, were absolutely awful shooting the ball.

Credit the Blue Devils for putting forth a tremendous defensive effort, as Duke defenders really clamped down on Boeheim and Girard, especially on the perimeter.

All in all, the Blue Devils (15-3, 5-2) showed why they’re one of the two best squads in the Atlantic Coast Conference, along with Miami. The Orange, meanwhile, looked every bit the part of a middling ACC group in falling to Duke, 79-59, before a boisterous crowd at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Syracuse basketball looked totally out of sync against the Blue Devils.

It was a pleasant sight to see ‘Cuse head coach Jim Boeheim go 10 deep in his rotation on Saturday afternoon, although that probably occurred as a result of Syracuse basketball trailing by around 30 points for portions of the second half.

Given that the Orange (9-10, 3-5), by and large, has issues stopping other teams in the zone defense throughout the 2021-22 campaign to date, it’s virtually impossible for the ‘Cuse to knock off a nationally ranked foe on the road when Syracuse basketball shoots about 35 percent from the field, 17 percent from 3-point land and 50 percent from the charity stripe.

This setback for the Orange represented the first ACC clash where the ‘Cuse was crushed. Previously, Syracuse basketball had fallen by five points each at home to Florida State and Virginia, by three points in overtime at Wake Forest and by one point at Miami.

I never realistically expected the Orange to prevail over Duke in Durham, even if the ‘Cuse has done so on a couple of occasions in recent years.

But it’s disappointing that Syracuse basketball got totally dominated in virtually every single statistical category, save for turnovers and personal fouls committed. Just an awful showing by the Orange.

And the Blue Devils, yes, they’ve suffered a few defeats in 2021-22. However, Duke, even in a watered-down ACC, is a legit contender to make a deep run in this spring’s Big Dance.

The Blue Devils shot 48 percent from the field, 38 percent from beyond the arc and 71 percent from the free-throw line. They pressured ‘Cuse players quite effectively. They imposed their will throughout this contest.

So in the coming weeks, the Orange will have a chance to exact revenge on Duke at the Carrier Dome in what is expected to be the final regular-season meeting between long-time friends and coaching peers Jim Boeheim and Mike Krzyzewski.

Before that, though, the ‘Cuse will look to rebound from this poor effort versus the Blue Devils when Syracuse basketball heads to Pittsburgh this Tuesday evening.

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