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Four takeaways from SU's 73-65 loss to Virginia

Four takeaways from SU's loss to No. 13 Virginia.

The 13th-ranked Virginia Cavaliers avoided an upset yesterday on their home floor, defeating Syracuse 73-65. 

The Orange were led by Michael Gbinije and Malachi Richardson, who scored 24 and 23 points, respectively. The lack of interior defense will haunt Syracuse all season, but there's not much they can do about it. 

If coach Boeheim needs a better offensive lineup, he puts Tyler Lydon at the 5 and the Orange struggle defensively. If he needs a better defensive lineup, Dajuan Coleman gets the nod, but he hasn't been much of an offensive threat during his time at Syracuse. It's a lose-lose situation.

Here are four takeaways from Sunday's loss:

1. The Mike and Malachi show: Gbinije and Richardson scored 47 of SU's 65 points on Sunday. The two were a combined 11-for-19 from 3-point range and 6-for-7 from the free throw line. They were simply terrific. The only problem was the rest of the team left their offensive game in Syracuse. Trevor Cooney scored 8 points, Tyler Roberson scored 6 and Coleman/Lydon had 2 each. If the Orange had one more offensive contributor on Sunday, they may have pulled off their second straight ACC road upset.

2. Interior defense: As I mentioned earlier, SU's interior defense was awful on Sunday. Truthfully, it hasn't been very good all season. Coach Boeheim mentioned after the game it's "painfully obvious" that they can't defend the paint, and Sunday was no different. Whether it's Tyler Lydon or Dajuan Coleman, the middle of the zone hasn't been consistent all season. A major key to playing the 2-3 zone is having a rim protector, which the Orange just don't have this season. Next year, when Paschal Chukwu, a 7-foot-2 transfer center, is eligible to play, this shouldn't be an issue. 

3. Roberson's inconsistency: It's been the biggest problem with Roberson's game since his arrival at Syracuse: consistency. After a dominating performance at Duke last week (14 points, 20 rebounds), Roberson did not record a rebound in the first half against Virginia. He turned it up in the second half, grabbing 7 rebounds, but it was a disappointing performance nonetheless. Virginia is a very good rebounding team, and they don't give up many offensive rebounds, which plays a factor in his lack of success on Sunday. 

4. Gbinije's second half: After a sluggish first half, Michael Gbinije scored 19 second-half points in attempt to upset UVA. His efforts came up short, but his ability to score remains remarkable. He hit five 3-pointers yesterday and was a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line in 38 minutes of action. There's no question he is Syracuse's MVP this season. He scored SU's first 11 points of the second half. 

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