The Syracuse Orange took one on the chin from the Temple Owls in the featured game of the Gotham Classic at Madison Square Garden on Saturday afternoon.
The self-proclaimed “New York’s College Team” was taught a lesson by a team that might not even be the best team in Philadelphia. Temple (9-2), coming off of a 10-point-loss at home to Canisius, looked to redeem itself against the third-ranked Orange and did so with smart play, work on the boards and a little help from a poor-shooting Syracuse.
Reading between the lines tells the story, or rather, behind the lines.
The three-point and free-throw lines.
Syracuse (10-1) shot a terrible 19-of-34 from the charity stripe and an even more abysmal 2-of-12 from behind the three-point line. These numbers by themselves were not the only factors in the 83-79 loss, but they could be a blueprint for teams to attack the Orange down the road.
If the Orange didn’t have Alcorn State on the schedule as its next opponent, then the excuse could have been that the players were looking ahead. The reality is that since the second half of the eked-out win against Detroit, Syracuse has played three sub-par halves of basketball. Now Syracuse is left to pick up the pieces and build off of this loss, but where to begin…
The Temple loss was a perfect storm of a well-coached game plan met by an uninspired effort. The Orange can build, but it needs to first figure out what went wrong before it can start the healing.
Well, it’s time to let the healing begin. Here are some key areas Syracuse will need to address to turn this loss into a positive.