Let’s just get it out of the way right now, the refs missed a blatant goal tend call again Baye Keita that would have tied the game at 63 and could have possibly sent the game into overtime. To say that that one call cost West Virginia the game though is idiotic. Would I feel differently if the roles were reversed? Maybe. But during the course of a game, especially this one, there are so many missed calls that lead to points or ones that take away points from both teams. It’s something that you have to deal with. What people are going to forget is that West Virginia had the ball last and still had a chance to tie/win the game. Also, the missed goal tend call happened with just under 10 seconds left in the game. A.) it would have only tied the game, and B.) SU would have had 10 seconds to take a final shot with a chance to win the game. So you can’t put everything on one call. Was it a horrible call? Yes and I do feel bad for West Virginia and their fans that a game has to come down to that, but it can not be said that it was the only reason they lost, or SU won.
Now let’s get to the rest of the game. This was as ugly of a game that we will probably see SU play all year. To come out on top with a win just shows how good this team really is. The Syracuse defense continued to dominate teams forcing 17 turnovers with 11 steals. However, the lone stat that will really stand out to SU fans in how we were out rebounded 41-20. Most people will equate this with the absence of Fab Melo, but that is not the case. Yes, Fab definitely helps in the rebounding department, but its the guards that need to step up their rebounding. The combo of SU guards finished the game with 1 rebound. That is not acceptable. This is what kept West Virginia in the game. Besides the rebounding the defense was its usual spectacular self.
The offense was a different story. SU continues to really struggle shooting the ball. Saturday, they were horrendous. They shot 46% from the field, but only 4-20 from 3. You might look at that and think that SU was forcing way too many deep shots, but they really weren’t. The majority of these shots were WIDE OPEN. It is not bad offense, SU just needs to start making shots. Brandon Triche was the only player that really had any type of good offense game as he had 18 points.
Overall, this was a good win for the Orange, as they did not play a good game and still found a way to win. The defense carried this team again, and you know what they say…Defense wins championships.