Syracuse was facing a "must win" on Saturday against Florida State, in the words of senior guard Michael Gbinije. The Orange couldn't come through in a careless outing, which resulted in 16 turnovers.
At the first media timeout, Syracuse led Florida State 1-0, thanks to a Dajuan Coleman free throw. The problem early was turnovers, and the problem late was turnovers.
Freshman Tyler Lydon was the best player on the court in the first half. He went 5-for-5 from the field, including 2-for-2 from 3-point range. He led all scorers at the break with 12 points.
After the slow start from both teams, both offenses caught fire, which resulted in 56 percent shooting from the floor for the Orange, and 45.5 percent from 3-point range.
Xavier Rathan-Mayes hit a buzzer beating 3-pointer to end the first half for the Seminoles, and Syracuse took a 35-31 lead into the break.
Florida State came out guns blazing in the second half. Freshman Malik Beasley hit three straight 3-pointers to give the Noles' a 40-38 lead.
FSU's top two freshmen, Beasley and Dwayne Bacon were spectaculator on Saturday, scoring 20 and 16 points, respectively. They were as good as advertised, especially after a poor showing at the Carrier Dome back in February.
Rathan-Mayes added 16 points for the Seminoles.
With the Orange trailing by as many as nine points late in the second half, they brought it down to a one possession game multiple times. Trevor Cooney missed a game-tying 3-pointer with 16 seconds remaining, and an FSU rebound sealed the victory.
Cooney finished 4-for-16 on Saturday, and 2-of-12 from deep. He scored 12 points.
Lydon carried the Orange in the first half, but had a less than stellar second half, finishing with only four points on 1-of-4 shooting, totaling 16 points.
Michael Gbinije fouled out with 22 seconds left, which ended his 21-point performance, which was a game-high.
The Noles' outrebounded the Orange, 43-26. 13 of those rebounds were the offensive glass, which led to just nine second-chance points. Syracuse scored 26 points off FSU's 19 turnovers.
SU did not have any one player record more than five rebounds in the game. Cooney, Richardson and Gbinije combined for 11 assists and nine turnovers.
Malachi Richardson was the only SU player to play all 40 minutes on Saturday. He scored 15 points on 5-of-11 shooting. He did, however, go 2-for-8 from behind the arc.
The Seminoles defeated the Orange, 78-73.
Syracuse's turnovers cost the Orange a much-needed victory on Saturday. Does this leave them out of the NCAA Tournament? I don't think so. But I do believe Syracuse still has some work to do in the ACC Tournament next week. If they win one, they should be in. If they win two, they're comfortably in. If the Orange loses their first game on Wednesday, everyone will be holding their breath come Selection Sunday.
SU finished the regular season 19-12 overall, 9-9 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. After starting 0-4 in league play, 9-9 doesn't look so bad.