Boston College men’s basketball fell to Syracuse on Saturday afternoon as the Orange make their final push for the NCAA Tournament.
Boston College was never far behind, but also never looked poised to take the lead. The closest they ever got after the opening minutes came late in the first half when they cut Syracuse’s lead from 12 points to one.
BC ended the half down 41-35, and it was more of the same in the second half, as Syracuse did just enough for 20 minutes to keep BC at bay.
It’s hard to point to one area that made the difference for the Orange, as they had modest advantages in nearly every major statistical category, but the Eagles' poor three-point shooting might have been the most important one.
The three-ball wasn’t a focus in Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim’s game plan—the Orange attempted only 11 shots from behind the arc—but they defended well, allowing BC only nine of their 31 three-pointers. As a result, Syracuse outscored BC 38-20 in the paint.
It’s equally hard to pick any standouts for either side. That being said, Steffon Mitchell’s hustle in the post and on the perimeter kept the Eagles going on both ends, while on the other side, all five starters for the Orange scored at least 12 points.
This game was a must-win for Syracuse, who are fighting to make the NCAA Tournament, and this was a solid team win to keep them in the race.
The Eagles' best moments came when they worked against Boeheim’s 2-3 zone defense with passes into the post to Steffon Mitchell and CJ Felder before kicking the ball out to the perimeter for shots, but with such inconsistent shooting from distance, that formula couldn’t work to its full potential.
But at the end of the day, Jim Christian should be satisfied that his team was able to improve from a 38-point loss to the Orange in December, especially with a depleted roster.
Boston College will have another ACC challenge on Wednesday at Georgia Tech, who are 7-3 at home this season.
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