Posted February 24, 2014

No. 4 Syracuse avoids three-game skid by escaping Maryland

ACC, Maryland Terrapins, Syracuse Orange
Senior C.J. Fair hit some timely shots for Syracuse and finished with 17 points.

Senior C.J. Fair hit some timely shots and finished with 17 points to help Syracuse beat Maryland. (Nick Wass/AP)

For a team that appeared to be cruising toward to the Final Four, Syracuse looked like it had found another way to lose on Monday night. But the fourth-ranked Orange managed to sneak by Maryland 57-55 in College Park to avoid a three-game losing streak ahead of Saturday’s road game against No. 12 Virginia.

After its blistering 25-0 start, Syracuse dropped consecutive games to Boston College and Duke last week, the latter of which featured the “Block Heard ‘Round the World” which resulted in an ejection of Orange coach Jim Boeheim and cost a win for his team. For all its early season success, Syracuse struggled late in the losses to both the Eagles and Blue Devils.

Against the Terrapins, the Orange made sure recent history didn’t repeat itself.

Syracuse led by as many as 12 points in the second half but failed to hold off a late Maryland run. The Terps cut the Orange lead to one with a Jake Layman free throw with 48 seconds to play. C.J. Fair (17 points) missed a jumper on the other end for Syracuse, giving Maryland a chance to take the lead.

But Baye Keita swatted Nick Faust’s attempt on the Terps’ next possession before Fair grabbed the board. A couple of fouls later, Trevor Cooney knocked down one of two free throws for a 57-55 lead with four ticks left. Maryland’s last-ditch three-point attempt clanked off the rim, allowing the Orange to halt their first losing streak of the season at just the right time.

Syracuse isn’t looking as dominant as its early record indicated. This was its fifth straight game decided by six points or fewer, but the Orange at least came out of this one on good terms. Now the program heads to Charlottesville on Saturday with a chance to pull even in the race for the ACC regular season title. Syracuse may not be No. 1 in the polls anymore, but with only three games left in the regular season, the Orange still have a shot to prove that two-game losing streak was nothing but an outlier on its quest for a championship.


A lot of people will look at this close game and say, well there they go again, blowing a lead and trying to find offense, but the reality was Grant had back problems and didn't play the second half.  Gbinije fouled out,...Christmas, Keita and Fair all had four fouls and had to play tentative defense, and if you watched the game, our offense stayed away from the paint and became primarily a shooting team to avoid fouling out our key players as the game came to a close.  I am not surprised that Maryland came storming back, mostly on threes and inside plays that we couldn't guard due to foul trouble.  So, in reality, I am impressed that through all the adversity, we found a way to win,...and Tyler Ennis just simply took over and made things happen.  The only bad aspect of the game for me was the inability of Cooney to hit wide open threes.  He started off good and then cooled off considerably


Mark (MD coach) was comical in complaining about wanting more calls from the refs... 

Fascinating stats to notes:

MD averages about 21 fouls per, worst in ACC

SU averages about 15 fouls per, best in ACC

For this game - SU = 19, MD = 13

To illustrate the odd metrics of MD's high FT count:

MD's 27 FT's for the game, was a whopping 9% of their total FT count for the YEAR!

(or a +16 FT's taken above average)

Message being sent to SU due to the Duke T's??

Since MD fouled intentionally at the end, the true called FT's w.r.t. fouls was 27 FT's to 4 FT's

Interesting in light that the most-frequently fouling team versus the least-frequently fouled team somehow reversed their tendencies?  hmm...

MD lost simply because they were careless with the ball.  SU didn't play well, but MD was out-of-control on many occasions.   The foulds called on the SU's center were laughable at times.


Maryland was one missed shot from beating both Duke and Syracuse and probably won't make the playoffs. Records don't always show how good a team can be.