Syracuse Basketball: Did Stalling Strategy at End of Game Cost Orange at 'Nova?

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Syracuse Basketball: Did Stalling Strategy at End of Game Cost Orange at 'Nova?
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The third-ranked Syracuse Orange were upset in overtime on Saturday by the unranked Villanova Wildcats 75-71. Anytime that there's an upset, there are certain factors that go into creating it. Late in the second half, Syracuse decided to go away from the normal offense and try to run time off of the clock.

That decision proved to be one of the reasons for the upset loss.

C.J. Fair made a jumper with 3:37 left to go in the game that put the Orange up 61-55. That was the last basket that Syracuse would make in regulation.

The Orange seemed content to hold the ball up top and wait until late in the shot clock to run a play. They attempted just two shots from the field in the final three minutes of the second half. The lack of offense clearly allowed Villanova to get back into the game.

Of course, the failure to run the normal offense late in the game wasn't the only reason for the loss, but it certainly didn't help.  Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams made two turnovers in the last three minutes of regulation that led to three Villanova points.

The Orange defense broke down at the end of the game and was unable to get out to Ryan Arcidiacono, who knocked down the game-tying three from the corner with just two seconds remaining. Once the game got to overtime, the Wildcats dominated the period, aided by eight points, including two three-pointers, from James Bell.

Syracuse, one of the top rebounding teams in the nation, was unable to keep Villanova off the boards in the extra time. The Wildcats recorded 11 overtime rebounds.

For the game, Syracuse was out-rebounded 47-34.

The Orange started slow, allowing Villanova to jump out to a 10-0 lead right from the start of the game. Poor shooting also plagued Syracuse throughout, shooting just 33.3 percent from the field. However, even with all of the mistakes, Syracuse fought back and should have been able to close out the victory at the end.

Trying to slow the game and run out the clock wasn't the only factor for the loss, but it was a big contributor.

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