Fast reaction: 3 takeaways from SU’s 78-59 loss to UNC in ACC tournament 2nd round

first_imgNEW YORK — The comeback that kept the two teams close two weeks ago never materialized and Syracuse (20-13, 8-10 Atlantic Coast) fell to North Carolina (23-9, 11-7 ACC), 78-59, on Wednesday night at the Barclays Center in the second round of the ACC Tournament. SU maintained respectability for most of the night, but its interior, wilted by foul trouble and an adversary that rebounds like no other, was outdone early. That ultimately made the difference.The loss means SU likely will not play in the NCAA Tournament for the third time in four years. That has never happened during Jim Boeheim’s 42-year tenure as head coach.Here are three takeaways from Wednesday’s game.On a platterUNC took a 39-29 lead to halftime. Being down by just 10 was a gift, considering by that point Syracuse had allowed 12 points off turnovers and the Tar Heels accumulated 17 more off second-chance opportunities. UNC is the best rebounding team in the nation (42 per game) and has the second-highest offensive rebounding percentage at 38.7, according to Kenpom.com. It showed.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textOshae Brissett’s fourth 3-pointer on the half’s final possession sweetened the mood, but just prior SU had one of its most telling sequences. Joel Berry II missed a triple, but 6-foot-3 freshman guard Andrew Platek snagged the rebound. Then Luke Maye missed a layup, but 6-foot-11 freshman forward Sterling Manley cleaned up with a backboard-shaking dunk. The Heels monopolized the glass.SU recovered, losing the total rebound count by just five, but the deficit inflicted early left a cut too deep to heal.HackathonThe fact that both of SU’s centers had three fouls 15 minutes into the game couldn’t have helped the Orange’s cause on the boards. Both junior Paschal Chukwu and freshman Bourama Sidibe bit on multiple pump fakes. Instead of playing straight up, they often clamped both arms down on Tar Heels attacking the rim. On a day where SU would need above average efforts to combat UNC’s greatest strength, its bigs played with little discipline.Chukwu picked up his fourth foul less than three minutes into the second half. Boeheim kept him in. That decision backfired less than a minute later when Chukwu was again caught in the air courtesy of a Maye shot fake. Chukwu was disqualified with five fouls before the first media timeout of the half.Getting Sidibe to play bonus minutes on a less-than-perfect left knee is a tough ask. Getting him to do it against a team that rebounds better than anyone is ridiculous. He earned his fourth foul with a little less than 12 minutes left. And just when it seemed like he would make it to the final buzzer, he got a little too close to Kenny Williams on a fast break and was disqualified.Don’t call it a comebackFive 3-pointers by Oshae Brissett — a night after he was timid with his trigger — boosted an otherwise struggling SU offense, and a Frank Howard floater with eight minutes to go cut the lead to 15. That margin would feel like a lot if it wasn’t for the memory of these two teams’ matchup two weeks ago, where a double-digit lead evaporated into a tie game with three minutes left.Not this time. Not in March. Not when UNC earned a six-seed when everyone on the Tar Heel bench would say it is the best team in the conference, victimized by a deep conference and three of its last four league losses coming by a total of 11 points.The Orange deployed its press to no avail. One time it got beat so quickly that Howard fouled a streaking Berry intentionally. Another, Williams went deep and hauled in an over-the-shoulder lob for a layup. The press wasn’t stopping UNC. It did two weeks ago only because the Heels foolishly beat it and drove straight into its last line of defense, Chukwu, who could only watch from the bench on Wednesday.In the game’s final minute, Chukwu’s fellow starters joined him there. The walk-ons entered for a second-straight night. This time for SU, it was for the wrong reason. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 7, 2018 at 11:54 pm Contact: jtbloss@syr.edu | @jtblosslast_img