Syracuse Basketball: Key takeaways as No. 14 Duke catches fire in 2nd half to win by 20

Syracuse basketball hung around at No. 14 Duke for a while, but the Blue Devils rode hot 3-point shooting to win by 20 points.
Syracuse basketball hung around at No. 14 Duke for a while, but the Blue Devils rode hot 3-point shooting to win by 20 points. / Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse basketball hung tough with No. 14 Duke in the first half on the road, but the Blue Devils were scorching hot in the second half and came away with an 86-66 victory against the Orange on Tuesday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C.

This setback snapped the ‘Cuse five-game winning streak. The Blue Devils (10-3, 1-1 in the ACC) have also defeated the Orange (10-4, 1-2 in the ACC) nine straight times.

With Duke struggling to shoot from the perimeter and star sophomore center Kyle Filipowski in foul trouble, Syracuse basketball had a chance to perhaps grab a halftime lead, but instead the ‘Cuse trailed by two points at the break, 35-33.

Filipowski started to get going in the second half, the Blue Devils couldn’t miss from deep, the Orange didn’t take care of the ball well, and the ‘Cuse saw its five-game success streak end.

My key observations and takeaways in the Syracuse basketball loss to No. 14 Duke.

•It was certainly the tale of two halves for the Blue Devils from beyond the arc. Duke was 0-of-9 in the first half and 8-of-8 in the second half. The Orange, meanwhile, went just 4-of-16 from long range.

•As a collective unit, the Blue Devils shot 52.5 percent from the field, fueled by a 46-32 advantage in paint points. The ‘Cuse, conversely, made just 43.6 percent from the field. Both teams were excellent from the charity stripe – Syracuse basketball was over 80 percent, while Duke was near 90 percent.

•The Orange actually won the battle on the boards, 31-30. But in numerous other categories, the Blue Devils had advantages, including 19-14 in assists, 17-11 in turnovers forced, 21-9 in fastbreak points, 11-7 in steals, 26-11 in points off turnovers, and 5-3 in blocks.

•On the other hand, Syracuse basketball led 36-16 in bench points and 4-3 in second-chance points.

•Sophomore big man Maliq Brown had a dunk with 14:27 to go in the second half, cutting the ‘Cuse deficit to 49-47. From there on, Duke outscored Syracuse basketball, 37-19, to win by 20 points.

•The Orange doesn’t have a bad loss on its resume, falling to Tennessee and Gonzaga in Hawaii, then at Virginia and at Duke. That being said, while the ‘Cuse hung around with these high-quality foes for a while, Syracuse basketball did end up falling to each of these opponents by at least 17 points. If the Orange truly wants to enter the conversation for a possible at-large invite to this spring’s NCAA Tournament, the ‘Cuse will have to start beating some of these ranked foes.

•The Syracuse basketball defense did a good job getting Filipowski into foul trouble in the first half. But the Orange, throughout this Atlantic Coast Conference clash, had no answer for sophomore forward Mark Mitchell, who poured in 21 points on 7-of-10 from the field and 7-of-9 from the free-throw line.

•For the ‘Cuse, it was the Maliq Brown show. He was fabulous, finishing with a career-high 26 points on 11-of-16 from the field to go along with seven rebounds.

•Sophomore point guard Judah Mintz struggled a bit with his shooting, but he did go 8-of-9 from the charity stripe and boasted 18 points, four rebounds, six assists and three steals, but he also had five turnovers.

•Over the weekend, when Syracuse basketball conquered Pittsburgh at home, 81-73, Brown, sophomore guard/wing Quadir Copeland and junior forward Benny Williams were awesome. Versus Duke, Copeland and Williams didn’t do much. Benny had two points and five boards, while Quadir registered six points, three rebounds, four assists, two steals and four turnovers.

•Syracuse basketball needs more from the forward positions. Starters Justin Taylor and Chris Bell, both sophomores, were fairly nonexistent against the Blue Devils. Taylor finished with one point, four boards, one assist and one block. Bell, meanwhile, had two points, one rebound, one assist and three turnovers.

•The Orange is off this coming weekend. Next up, Syracuse basketball will host Boston College on Wednesday, Jan. 10, beginning at 9 pm and with television coverage on the ACC Network.

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