SU Men's Basketball V. Duke

Syracuse men’s basketball falls to dominant Duke team

The Orange were limited to 44 points in 40 minutes.

DURHAM, N.C. — In a game with 35 missed threes and 48 points in the paint, Syracuse (18-11, 7-9 ACC) felt the pressure of Cameron Indoor Stadium and crumbled under Duke (24-5, 12-4 ACC) 60-44.

In a game surrounded by reports of investigations into Division-One players and agents, the biggest difference was the productivity of Duke freshman forward Marvin Bagley III, who missed the previous four games with a knee injury. He started the game on the bench, but he entered the play after three minutes.

Photo: Chase Guttman
Duke's Marvin Bagley III dunks over Syracuse's Matthew Moyer.

“They were able to get stuff in low that we weren’t able to get. I thought that was really the difference in the game,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said.

Points were hard to come by early for both teams. With nothing happening from beyond the arc, teams were forced to drive inside. “Both teams struggled to shoot the ball tonight,” Boeheim said.

Syracuse center Paschal Chukwu found success with three dunks in the first half. On the defensive side of the ball, Chukwu struggled to contain Wendell Carter Jr. and Bagley III. Chukwu had three fouls in the first half, which forced Boeheim to use freshman center Bourama Sidibe, who has struggled with injuries. “He’s out. He can’t jump,” Boeheim said.

The front court struggled for the Orange in the first half. Tyus Battle, Frank Howard and Oshae Brissett, the cornerstones of the Syracuse offense, combined for 4 first-half points. Some mental mistakes caused for easy turnovers for the Blue Devils. A steal from Grayson Allen midway through the first half led to a breakaway opportunity, and a dunk by Allen brought the crowd of 9,314 fans to their feet.

Syracuse found themselves down 11 points at halftime, however it seemed like Duke could have broken away more at times. Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski praised both defenses for the lack of scoring.

“It was tough to score tonight. I thought both teams played really tough defense,” Krzyzewski said.

In the second half, freshman forward Marek Dolezaj brought a sense of energy that was unseen previously in the game. He received the ball in the high post, took one dribble and floated the ball over the outstretched Blue Devil arms.

Matthew Moyer had a similar performance, showing aggression inside and going up for shots at the rim. His signature move of receiving the ball on the base line and moving laterally towards the basket provided some opportunities, however the Blue Devils defense overpowered the freshman forward.

Duke hit its first three with 7:28 minutes remaining in the second half. When Chukwu drew his fifth foul on the following possession, Syracuse lost its interior presence. This forced Boeheim to go small and force the press to try and come back into the game down. The first press slowed down the Duke attack, however Gary Trent Jr.’s three from straight on was the first for the Blue Devils and made the score 50-35.

The Orange found its shot from beyond the arc late in the game. Howard scored back to back threes by pulling up from range to eat into the lead. Duke responded the same as they had all day: forcing inside and rising above the Orange.

After the game, Boeheim praised the defensive performance holding fifth-ranked Blue Devils to 60 points. He did not have as kind words for his offense. “We missed a lot of shots early that we have to make,” Boeheim said.

There was even some banter between the two coaches. At the conclusion of his statement, Boeheim said, “I don’t think Coach K(rzyzewski) should really be allowed to play zone.”
The remark led to confusion and silence, before Boeheim cracked a smile. “It was a joke,” Boeheim said.

The two worked together with Team USA from 2008 to 2014 and are the two most winningest coaches in Division One men’s basketball history.

Syracuse has two games remaining in the regular season, with the first at Boston College on Wednesday. The game starts at 9 p.m.

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