EARLY EXIT: Syracuse misses 6 shots on final possession, falls to N.C. State in quarterfinals of ACC tournament

first_img Published on March 14, 2014 at 9:30 pm Contact David: dbwilson@syr.edu | @DBWilson2 Facebook Twitter Google+ GREENSBORO, N.C. — Earlier in the season, maybe one of those final shots would have found the bottom of the net. But for Syracuse, playing in its first Atlantic Coast Conference tournament game, that sort of magic has vanished.Down three to North Carolina State with less than 30 seconds remaining, Tyler Ennis missed a tough layup. Syracuse gathered the rebound. Jerami Grant missed a putback dunk. Syracuse gathered the rebound. Ennis missed a 3. Syracuse gathered the rebound. Trevor Cooney missed a 3. Syracuse gathered the rebound. C.J. Fair missed a 3. Syracuse gathered the rebound. Cooney missed a 3. The ball bounced too far out of bounds for Fair to save it.Six chances to send the game into overtime or at least extend it to an extra possession. Six misses. The final score lingered at 66-63 through it all and the Orange left its first ACC tournament in the quarterfinals.“We got a few good looks and myself, I got a clean look. I just didn’t knock it down,” Fair said. “And from there, we was just scrambling trying to get in another opportunity.”The 3-point shot, though, has been No. 11 Syracuse’s greatest weakness this season and it prevented the No. 2-seed Orange (27-5, 14-4 ACC) from another miracle against the No. 7-seed Wolfpack (21-12, 9-9) in front of 21,533 at Greensboro Coliseum in North Carolina on Friday.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSU’s offense was disastrous from the start and Syracuse dug itself into another hole. It found some offensive stability late in the second frame — “We made some really good plays to get back in it,” head coach Jim Boeheim said — but with the game on the line, the offense reverted back to its first-half form and wilted.“…And we made two bad plays to get back out of it.”With 3:41 remaining, the Orange had completed its rally from a double-digit deficit and took a two-point lead. On the defensive end, Grant blocked T.J. Warren to set up a runout in the other direction.Ennis pushed the ball up the floor and threw up a runner in the lane that missed off the glass. Cooney committed a foul and Anthony “Cat” Barber sunk two free throws to tie the game.“It was a really bad play,” Boeheim said, “and we haven’t been making those plays in the close games.”Until that point, though, Ennis was the one that kept SU close.When Syracuse fell behind by 10, he carried the Orange back with one of his best scoring displays of the year. He drilled two 3s, sunk another jumper and dished out two assists during a 14-5 run that pulled the Orange within one entering the final five minutes.“Tyler tries to score when we need points,” Boeheim said, “and we needed points.”Even after he followed up a rare offensive miscue with an offensive foul two possessions after Fair committed one, there were still chances to be had. With 25 seconds left, the Orange had one more chance that turned into six.Ennis got to the rim and missed a tough layup, but Grant’s putback dunk should have been easier. Four consecutive 3s missed, including a good look for Fair, and the Orange couldn’t capitalize on its opportunity.“We needed a 3, so we wanted to get as many 3s up as we could, hoping that one would go in for us,” Cooney said.The locker room scene that followed is one that has suddenly become familiar. For 25 games, Syracuse never had to deal with a loss, but losing in its first ACC tournament game the Orange is facing the harsh reality that it now can’t afford another one.Pasted on the wall between several of the lockers was a poster with a picture of the ACC championship trophy in the middle and the numbers “3 2 1” along the bottom — presumably representing each win needed to take home that trophy.As SU exited Greensboro Coliseum for the first time, the posters remained intact. None of the numbers were crossed off.“On any given night, we could lose to any team,” Ennis said, “but we could also beat any team. We’ve just got to get our confidence.” Commentslast_img