hung tough with a good Virginia Tech group on Saturday night at the Cassell Coli..."/> hung tough with a good Virginia Tech group on Saturday night at the Cassell Coli..."/> hung tough with a good Virginia Tech group on Saturday night at the Cassell Coli..."/>

In Syracuse basketball road loss, huge free-throw line disparity was absurd

Syracuse basketball (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images) /
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Syracuse basketball hung tough with a good Virginia Tech group on Saturday night at the Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Va., but the Orange’s offense unfortunately stalled down the stretch, and the Hokies came away with a 71-59 triumph.

After this setback for the ‘Cuse (13-12, 7-7), head coach Jim Boeheim in his post-game press conference noted the massive difference in the number of trips that his squad made to the free-throw line, as compared to Virginia Tech (15-10, 7-7).

The Hokies, in their 12-point victory, went 17-of-21 from the charity stripe. The Orange, meanwhile, connected on just 1-of-4 from the free-throw line.

In a 12-point loss, a difference of 17 attempts from the charity stripe is big. Plus, this game was tied at 54-54 with around six minutes remaining in the second half. Credit the ‘Cuse for storming back from a 10-point halftime deficit to make things interesting.

However, in the waning minutes of this pivotal Atlantic Coast Conference clash, Syracuse basketball players couldn’t knock down shots, and they committed some bad turnovers.

The officiating was awful in Virginia Tech’s defeat of Syracuse basketball.

I almost never blame the officials for the outcome of a game, and I won’t here. The Orange had its chances over the last few minutes to produce a success, but it couldn’t make shots. Plain and simple.

That being said, according to ESPN statistics, Syracuse basketball got whistled for 18 fouls. The Hokies committed nine fouls. Officials are human beings, and they’re going to miss calls on both squads.

But the ‘Cuse didn’t commit twice as many fouls as Virginia Tech. Boeheim, in his post-game presser, acknowledged the large differential in fouls called.

Many Syracuse basketball fans, including myself, agree that the disparity at the free-throw line was a big-time influence on this outcome.

And it’s not like the Hokies hoisted up way more 3-point attempts than the Orange, which could help explain the difference in fouls, because players for the most part are less likely to get fouled when shooting from the perimeter.

Per ESPN, Syracuse basketball took 64 shots, with 27 of those attempts from beyond the arc. Virginia Tech, conversely, attempted 60 total shots, with 27 of them coming from deep.

Boeheim said that senior shooting guard Buddy Boeheim, who is often quite effective at backing down smaller defenders in the mid-range game and in attacking the rim, gets fouled a lot of the time when he drives the lane.

But those defending Buddy Buckets rarely get fouls called against them in these instances. Case in point, versus the Hokies, Boeheim had two free-throw attempts, connecting on one of them.

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