Fast reaction: 3 takeaways from Syracuse’s loss to Pittsburgh

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 7, 2015 at 6:21 pm PITTSBURGH — In Syracuse’s (15-8, 6-4 Atlantic Coast) first game after announcing a self-imposed postseason ban on Wednesday, the Orange fell to Pittsburgh (16-8, 5-5), 83-77, at the Petersen Events Center on Saturday.1. Didn’t get the memoIt appears no one told SU forward Michael Gbinije that his team can’t make the postseason this year.The junior played like his shorts were on fire, finishing with 23 points by attacking the rim and efficiently scoring from deep. But Gbinije did struggle at times on defense and on the boards, where lack of positioning on the opposite wing led to his fourth foul with 3:43 left in the game.Still, Gbinije’s offensive output — he also finished with three assists, four rebounds and four steals — kept the Orange in the game before it ran out of gas in the end.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text2. You got zonedWith under 12 minutes remaining in the second half, Pittsburgh dropped into a 2-3 zone that, if for only a few minutes, puzzled Syracuse.SU head coach Jim Boeheim quickly subbed Trevor Cooney into the game with four fouls, and it took some time for the Orange to find the cracks in the Panthers’ look-a-like defense. The tactical change allowed Pitt to build a three-point lead, but SU started solving the defense it’s made famous to reclaim an edge.Gbinije hit a pair of deep 3s and a quick touch pass from Tyler Roberson in the high post to Rakeem Christmas on the baseline earned the senior a wide-open two-handed dunk. Pittsburgh also had trouble rebounding in the zone, which led to second-chance opportunities and a handful of free throws for the Orange.The Panthers didn’t stay in the zone the rest of the way, but the adjustment was instrumental in Pitt’s gradual comeback that set up a tight-knit finish.3. Over and over againPittsburgh’s fans weren’t too happy with Christmas, or the refs, down the stretch of Saturday’s game. As Syracuse continually worked the ball into its leading scorer as the closing minutes fell off the scoreboard, Christmas drew foul after foul to give SU a fighter’s chance.But the game was similarly monotonous on the other end of the floor, as the Panthers exposed the middle of Syracuse’s zone with a bevy of high-post jumpers.In the end, Pittsburgh’s methodical offense outlasted the foul-drawing big man, even as Christmas tallied 23 points. Commentslast_img read more