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Friday, Dec 22, 2017 at 11:58 pm

Offense Falls Flat in Men’s Basketball’s Loss to St. Bonaventure

By Nick Dugan

With just 12 seconds left in overtime, St. Bonaventure led 58-57. Syracuse’s Oshae Brissett drove past his defender, kissing a layup with his right hand off the glass and in.

The whistle blew.

The officials called an offensive foul on Brissett, giving the ball back to the Bonnies. Jaylen Adams proceeded to hit two free throws and solidify a 60-57 road upset over the Orange.

“I know it wasn’t a foul,” Brissett said. “So, I’m just going to leave that one alone.”

After the game, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, clearly upset, said something to one of the officials as they left the court. When asked about Brissett’s foul, his press conference came to an abrupt end.

“I don’t talk about referees,” Boeheim said. “We’ll see you next week.”

Officials or no officials, the Orange fought uphill all game long, as the team struggled to find its rhythm on offense. The Bonnies scored its last basket of the second half with over seven minutes remaining, but SU simply couldn’t find the bottom of the net.

SU connected on just five of 23 shots in the second half, or just 21 percent. In overtime, Syracuse shot just 2-of-10 for a total of four points.

“They guarded Tyus and me well,” Frank Howard said. “They got up under him. They forced him into some tough shots that he usually makes.”

Tyus Battle had a particularly tough night. The sophomore hit just three of his 18 attempts for 11 points, his second-lowest point total of the season. Howard led the way for SU with 17 points, but even he converted less than one-third of his shots.

“Games like this are going to happen,” Battle said. I was getting shots I wanted. I thought I got a couple of good looks – it just wasn’t going in.”

While the Orange offense sputtered in the final 25 minutes, the defense kept the team alive. Once again, full-court pressure forced the Bonnies into some nervous decisions, including 13 of their 16 turnovers.

“We work on it every day,” Franklin Howard said. “We’re confident in the press … We’re never going to stop fighting. We’ve got that in our back pocket.”

But, it was the first half performance of Jaylen Adams that helped carry St. Bonaventure to a victory. The junior was 6-of-9 shooting, including 4-of-5 from behind the arc for a total of 21 points. He also added five rebounds.

“The first half, we did the same thing we did against Kansas,” Boeheim admitted. “We allowed one guard to shoot it. The second half we took him out and forced other people to shoot and they didn’t make anything…”

Adams was 0-for-1 from the floor with a pair of free throws in second half and overtime combined.

Nevertheless, the Bonnies pulled off the upset, and handed the Orange its second loss of the season.

“They [St. Bonaventure] played good defense just like we did,” Boeheim said. “They did a good job. I thought we got some good shots, we just didn’t make them.”

Syracuse returns to action on Wednesday to face Eastern Michigan at 7 p.m.