Syracuse completed its sweep of NC State on Tuesday night, getting past the Pack 77-68. After three straight years of a win over Syracuse bolstering NC State’s tournament resume, this year the Orange may have squeezed out State’s last hopes. See it was like a joke about like squeezing an orange and whatnot? Cuz they’re the Orange. Okay.
In the first half of the first meeting, State was nearly flawless offensively. The three halves that followed were a pretty big pile of garbage. The Pack had a season-high on Tuesday for turnovers, amassing 20, 13 of which came in the first half. This is particularly disappointing because NC State actually shot the ball well in this game. The Pack was 42% from beyond the arc, up from 27% in the first meeting, and got a nice boost from Thomas Allen, who knocked down four threes.
It was a much more consistent shooting effort than the first game, and it meant absolutely nothing. There was just no way State was overcoming the flood of turnovers and inability to generate a stop. Syracuse’s Alan Griffin and Buddy Boeheim, both of which tore State up in the first matchup, picked up where they left off. The duo combined to shoot 15-29 and score 38 points. It was open season for the Orange’s scorers.
Despite all of it, State still had its opportunities to grab this game, including when it cut the deficit to three late in the second half. After a Hellems jumper to cut the game to 67-64, the Orange went on a game-sealing 8-0 run. Almost every game State has lost this year, it’s had a shot at late in the second half, but it just cannot finish. This was a rerun.
While the Pack is not mathematically eliminated from the NCAA Tournament, getting swept by Syracuse feels like the sequence that turns everything remaining into a mere formality. Hopefully, there is still a run in this team somewhere, but this has been a tough season with a lot of missed opportunities, and Tuesday was certainly among them. State gets Duke at home on Saturday.