June 23, 2021

For 2nd straight game, Syracuse lets signature win slip away late

first_imgMIAMI — Trevor Cooney seemed as though he’d never blink. He sat in his chair in the visitors locker room with ice packs on both his legs and a towel covering his back. He stared straight ahead, not at anyone or anything.“We’ve got to be better defensively and offensively,” he said to a question about long-term improvement, again his gaze unwavering.“It would have been better to have a bigger lead at halftime,” is how he answered another. “Yup. That would have been better.”The frustration of Syracuse’s (10-5, 0-2 Atlantic Coast) 64-51 loss to No. 13 Miami (12-1, 1-0) was palpable for the Orange, a team now 0-2 in conference play for the first time in 17 years. Michael Gbinije complained about the officials. Malachi Richardson slumped in his chair despite having a career game. And Cooney’s face spelled it all. The Battle 4 Atlantis tournament win that had seemingly been the start to a terrific season has now begun to look like its climactic moment.And for the second straight game, the Orange saw an eight-point second half lead turn into a double-digit loss. After holding the Hurricanes to 17 points in the first half, SU allowed 47 after the break. Miami took 34 foul shots, scored 20 points off turnovers to SU’s 10 and shut down SU’s chance at getting a signature win to start 2016.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I hate to say it,” said interim head coach Mike Hopkins. “We got down to the five-minute mark tied, and we just couldn’t close it out. There was a couple plays that we just can have happen.”Ja’Quan Newton hit the second of his two 3-pointers to make it 47-44. Then Gbinije had the sixth of his eight turnovers, which led to an intentional foul from Tyler Lydon, who had to stop Angel Rodriguez from an easy layup. Gbinije flailed his arms in frustration as the ball was stripped.Then Richardson’s errant pass led to an and-one from Rodriguez. Then Cooney picked the ball up in the backcourt for an over and back. By the time Newton hit two free throws on the other end, Syracuse was down by 10 and there were less than three minutes to play.The ease with which Miami scored on the fastbreak, got to the line and turned defense into offense stood in stark contrast to the first half. In that half, the Hurricanes had an 11:38 stretch without hitting a field goal. In that half, Miami shot 0-of-11 from 3 and had just one second-chance point after SU allowed 13 in the first half on Wednesday.“I do think Miami deserved to win,” Gbinije said. “They played better than us. They made shots when they needed to. They got stops when they needed to. That’s just a good, talented team.”Gbinije shot just 3-of-14 from the field and committed a career-high eight turnovers. He was hounded by Rodriguez, who Miami head coach Jim Larranaga chose as his defender because the UM head coach believes that taller guards have trouble getting past the pesky ones.Even as Richardson posted a career-high 20 points on 5-of-6 shooting from 3. And even as Syracuse finished even at 41 rebounds with Miami. And even with the second-best defensive half of the season, it all ended in yet another debilitating late-game collapse.Cooney dribbled the ball hard against the hardwood, pushing it down and picking up with both his hands. His head bent down, and his back tilted down too. It followed the third of Syracuse’s three late-game turnovers. All of them led to scores. All of them led to another loss.He rolled the ball over to the referee and walked down the court. A chance to get a special win had vanished. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on January 2, 2016 at 6:52 pm Contact Sam: [email protected] | @SamBlum3last_img

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