Syracuse loses first game of season to Boston College

An inefficient C.J. Fair combined with a deadly three-point barrage by the Golden Eagles ended SU's undefeated season.

Luck isn’t everlasting, and Syracuse found that out the hard way Wednesday night when it lost in overtime Boston College, 62-59. The loss is the first for the Orange after they started the season winning the first 25 games in a row, one of them coming against the Golden Eagles last month.

“I’m really happy that we’ve won 25 games,” head coach Jim Boeheim said. “That’s a great thing, but we can’t be thinking about that.”

Photo: Lenny Christopher
Jerami Grant (#3) defends a Boston College shooter in SU's first loss of the season.

The game came down to the wire for No. 1 Syracuse (25-1, 12-1 ACC), but unlike its previous few games, the Orange was unable to come out on top at the end. Absent was the miraculous 40-foot three-pointer to win the game or the transition layup to send the crowd into a frenzy, even though there were plenty of opportunities for that to happen.

“I think it’s been an unbelievable run of making unbelievable plays in the last six, seven minutes of games. I’ve never seen anything like it before,” Boeheim said. “We’ve had a lot of good teams but I don’t think we’ve had any teams that would have won all these games.”

Well this particular SU team had a golden opportunity to win late in the second half with a little over a minute to go and a two-point lead, Boston College was able to tie the game off of an Olivier Hanlan layup, who blazed by center Rakeem Christmas. The Orange responded with a wasted possession off a missed Tyler Ennis shot in the lane, but they were able to retain possession after Ennis secured the rebound. With 20 seconds remaining the Orange had a chance to take the last shot, which Christmas just narrowly missed after taking a right hook shot in the lane. The game was then forced into overtime with the score tied 50 apiece.

“At the end of the day you’ve got to get the ball in the basket,” Boeheim said. “We’re not getting the ball in the basket.”

The offensive struggles for the Orange have been a continued issue throughout the season, but more so over the past five games where they’ve been unable to eclipse the 61-point mark. The Orange shot 32.3 percent from the field and 16.7 percent from three-point range in the game, while the Golden Eagles shot 50 percent from deep. That accuracy was on full display in the overtime period when Boston College hit its first two three-pointers, giving the Golden Eagles the lead for good.

The perimeter was well defended by the Boston College guards so SU’s offensive focus was inside in the early going. C.J. Fair took it upon himself to lead the charge but constantly found himself in tough spots on the floor where he was unable to get off a clean shot. That led to a 7-for-23 shooting night for the senior, one of his most inefficient games of the season. Fair had a chance to redeem himself with a little over 29 seconds left in overtime, but missed the jump shot.

Christmas had an equally unproductive shooting night from the floor (he went 1-for-6), and was even called out by Boeheim for his underwhelming effort, “I thought Rak would have a big game—he was non-existent the whole game.” Christmas still logged 39 minutes and collected eight offensive rebounds, but the lackluster effort to produce field goals in the post proved costly for the Orange.

The loss is the first for the Orange at the Carrier Dome this season and is only the second victory for the Golden Eagles on the road this season. The loss comes just three days before SU’s rematch with Duke on Saturday in Durham, N.C.

“This is a tough bounce-back game for us, especially going to Cameron Indoors,” C.J. Fair said. “You hear so many things, and you watch them on TV.”

The Orange will need to win if they want to stay at the top of the ACC rankings, as they dropped to the number two spot behind Virginia by a half a game after losing to Boston College. 

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