Holding a one-point lead with seven minutes remaining, the Pack would score just a single point from that point until the final buzzer. The poor shots and offensive miscues ruined what could have been the Pack's biggest win of the season, as No. 7 Syracuse escaped with a 65-59 win.
Coming off its worst loss of Sidney Lowe's tenure, a 39-point loss at Wisconsin, the Pack rebounded with a strong effort against an undefeated team playing on its home court. The Pack had multiple opportunities in the final two minutes to tie the game or take the lead, but turnovers and a pair of missed 3s from Scott Wood allowed Syracuse to hold on.
Despite missing those two 3s late, Wood was again the Pack's most reliable offensive player. The sophomore forward scored 18 points and hit 6-of-15 from behind the arc. CJ Leslie also came off the bench to notch a double-double, scoring 13 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
Turnovers cost the Pack dearly throughout the game, as the Pack coughed the ball up 17 times compared to just five turnovers from the Orange. The turnover advantage helped Syracuse overcome a poor shooting night, where the Orange hit 39 percent of its shots and only 2-of-16 from 3-point range. The Pack weren't much better, hitting 44 percent of its shots but going 8-of-24 from long range.
Tracy Smith, the Pack's leading scorer last year, missed his fifth straight game as he continues to recover from minor knee surgery. The Pack is hoping to get its senior forward back in time for its December 19th match-up with Arizona in Raleigh.
The Pack fell behind early on the road, as poor defense again plagued the team and allowed Syracuse to score 24 points in the first eight minute. The Orange also forced six quick Pack turnovers, scoring 12 points on those miscues to help build a 13-point lead early.
But the Pack didn't fold this time, using a 10-0 run to get back into the game. The Pack improved in every area over the final 12 minutes of the half, attacking the Syracuse zone and shoring up their defense simultaneously. The Pack wasn't able to get over the hump despite the improved play, as Syracuse took a 38-34 lead into halftime.
The second half opened with much of the same from the Pack, as they began attacking the interior of the zone. The Pack took the lead and built up as much as a six-point advantage before the offensive execution fell apart.
CJ Leslie scored on a nifty lay-up with 7:23 left in the game, the last field goal the Pack would make on the night. Over those final minutes the Pack would commit five turnovers, including two giveaways out of timeouts, and miss 10 straight shots.