SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The 2013-14 Syracuse Orange are a shell of what they were when they sat unblemished at 25-0. The school record winning streak seems like it happened years ago after the Orange fell for the fourth time in five tries, this time to a Georgia Tech team that won only four of their first 16 conference matchups.
Without an injured Jerami Grant, the Syracuse offense continued its lackluster play, shooting just 39.1% from the floor.
This was supposed to be senior night. This was supposed to be a coronation for the brilliant careers of C.J. Fair and Baye Keita. Two unsung recruits that have had major impacts on some of Syracuse's best teams over the last several decades. Instead, it was another frustrating, hair pulling loss that left Syracuse with more questions than answers.
"I think for six or seven games, obviously, our offense has not been good enough," head coach Jim Boeheim said. "We have not shot the ball well. Our defense is not as good as it has been, but our defense is reasonably good. But we are struggling to score points."
Georgia Tech took control midway through the first half with a 10-2 run that aided their eight point halftime edge. With a faltering offensively, Syracuse was in a seemingly perilous position.
C.J. Fair and Tyler Ennis tried to rescue Syracuse, but every time they close the gap the Yellow Jackets responded. Fair finished with 28 points and eight rebounds on his Carrier Dome adieu. Ennis added 18 points and seven assists.
The rest of the Orange only scored 16 points on 6-22 shooting, including Trevor Cooney's 1-8 from beyond the arc.
But the performances of Syracuse's only two offensive threats were not enough.
As the lead grew to double digits in the second half, Syracuse was forced to use a full court press to try to flip the script. But even when Georgia Tech provided opportunities, Syracuse could not capitalize. The Yellow Jackets missed the front end of one-and-ones, but the Orange promptly turned the ball over in the final minutes.
"If it wasn't for scrambling, we probably would have lost by 12 or 15 points," Boeheim said. "We had a tremendous effort to scramble back in this thing, but it was a little too much to overcome."
Nothing seemed to go right in the home finale. Shots were not falling, the defense was far too porous, and there were too many costly mistakes. Nothing provided a better example than Syracuse's 7-16 performance from the free-throw line.
Syracuse was not dominated on the glass (39-38 in favor of Georgia Tech) and they won the turnover battle (9-6), but every facet of their game was off.
Syracuse fell 67-62 on senior night, dropping their record to 26-4 (13-4 in ACC play).
Now the Orange have to respond, and hope that Jerami Grant can come back healthy. Filling in for the injured forward was true freshman Tyler Roberson, who contributed just two points and three rebounds while looking lost defensively.
Syracuse still has time to turn things around, but that time is running out fast. The Orange wrap up the regular season at Florida State on March 9th at 2pm.