After Walton missed the front end of a one-and-one, Chris McCullough grabbed the rebound and immediately passed to point guard Kaleb Joseph. Joseph raced up court and arrived in the offensive end with less than 10 seconds to play.
Joseph drives to the right of the lane and Christmas is in the middle trying to get inside position. As Joseph penetrates, Christmas has posted up beautifully. A pass from Joseph would give Rakeem the ball close to the basket in great position. Especially because Michigan guard Zak Irvin is defending him with Ricky Doyle trailing. Instead of feeding Christmas in the post, Joseph continues to drive.
As you can see in the picture below, Christmas has sealed Irvin and, if given a bounce pass to his left (right in the picture), he could spin towards the basket for an easy game winning layup. It appears Joseph has recognized this, and attempts to gather the ball in order to dump it down to Christmas. However, he dribbles the ball off his foot, causing it to take an abnormal bounce away from him.
The ball bounces away from Joseph, is deflected and Michigan grabs it to complete the turnover. Irvin has switched with Doyle inside on Christmas, but Rakeem still has great position. If Joseph had been able to gather the ball instead of dribbling it off his foot, Christmas has a great look at the basket.
It was a strong effort for the Orange on Tuesday night in their first true road test against a top-20 team. Despite that, they were oh so close to a victory. Syracuse will have a chance to get back on track against St. John’s on Saturday.