A quick look at Syracuse’s 89-68 one-sided loss to 19th-seeded Auburn falling in Friday night’s fifth / sixth-place game at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in Paradise Island, Bahamas:
WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse fell to tie its worst record after the first six games of a season (3-3) in Jim Boeheim’s 46-year career, the worst opening game of any season since also 3-3 in 1996- 97. SU led briefly 10-6, then as they did in Wednesday’s loss to VCU, the Tigers turned up the defense and used their size and athleticism in the paint to run to a lead of 10 points at halftime, which they extended to 15 just four minutes after the start of the second half. SU reduced the lead to 10 with less than 8:00 a.m. to go, but just didn’t have enough offensive gas in the tank. After scoring 92 points in the win over Arizona State 24 hours later, the ‘Cuse could only manage 68 points against Auburn when the game was on the line, shooting 20 for 48 overall and 7 for 19 beyond. the arc.
ANALYSIS: Opposing teams with height and length, and a deep bench (10 Tigers saw the action and scored points), will thwart Syracuse all season. Auburn was patient in his two half-court attacks, shooting 50 percent, grabbing 42 points in the paint and passing ‘Cuse 38-28. The Boeheim brothers, totaling 71 points in the first two games in the Bahamas, struggled to finish with a total of 20 points. Jimmy Boeheim, after scoring the first basket in SU’s first five games, only scored at 13:43 in the second half, finishing with just three points. Buddy Boeheim, Cole Swider and Jesse Edwards led SU in loss with 17 points each.
HERO: Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said after the Tigers beat Loyola on Thursday that freshman big man Jabari Smith was the best player in the tournament, and while that could be a bit of a moot point, there is no doubt that Smith is an attacking force at 6-10, capable to score inside and outside with a smooth jump shot. Smith finished with a record 22 points and scored 4 of 8 three-pointers with six rebounds and two assists. The only thing Smith did wrong was show his youth a technical foul for taunt after his fourth game with just over 4:00 to go.
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ZERO: As in the case of the football team this season with an average of almost 10 penalties per game, the basketball team this year has a small margin for error and certainly cannot commit self-injury. -inflicted. Syracuse averaged 11 turnovers going into this game and finished with 15. Auburn (5-1) converted those errors straight to 18 points, near the 21-point margin, while the AU ran onto the field in overtaking the SU defense several times while scoring. 11 points in transition.
AND AFTER: Syracuse is making the return flight from the Caribbean to return within the friendly (hoped) limits of the Dome welcoming Indiana (5-0) in the ACC-Big Ten challenge on Tuesday night, November 30. The teams last met in the 2013 ‘Challenge’ in the Dome with the victory of SU 69-52. The Hoosiers, led by first-year head coach Mike Woodson, host Marshall on Saturday night. Game time: 7 p.m. ET. Television: ESPN2.
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