Syracuse worn down in loss

Conventional wisdom says the way to beat Syracuse is to pound the Orangemen into submission. Contributing to this theory is that star Syracuse inside threat Hakim Warrick isn't exactly a threat to win bodybuilding championships anytime soon.

It's a strategy that tends not to work, as demonstrated by the Orangemen's lofty record over the past few seasons. But it's one that Oklahoma State used to wear down Syracuse in a 74-60 victory.

One key to the loss was that Syracuse didn't make the Cowboys pay for fouling. The Orange hit just 7 of 22 free throw attempts, a ridiculously bad 31.2 percent. Coupled with its 5 of 14 performance earlier this season against a physical Mississippi State squad, this trend has to be a concern to the coaching staff.

In another sign of wearing down that doesn't show up in the stats, it seemed like Oklahoma State got to every loose ball down the stretch. Twice, scrambles for a rebound after an OSU miss led to an immediate three-pointer from the Cowboys -- a pair of threes that helped break Syracuse's back.

The Orangemen lost despite getting 20 points from Josh Pace. Gerry McNamara spent a good portion of the game handling the basketball, and should be able to free himself up for better shots as Billy Edelin gets more time at the point.


Demetris Nichols may be on the verge of losing his starting spot. He has played just 10 minutes in each of the past two games, and hasn't made a basket in either.

-- The Oklahoma State loss wasn't one that Hakim Warrick will be saving on his Tivo. He finished with just 13 points, and missed eight of 13 free throw attempts.

PROBABLE LINEUP: Point guard Gerry McNamara, shooting guard Josh Pace, center Craig Forth, forward Demetris Nichols, forward Hakim Warrick.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "They tried to play physical with us. Everyone is going to try to play physical with us. We just didn't execute at the end."

-- Forward Hakim Warrick, on Oklahoma State's style of play that proved to be too much for the Orangemen.


UPCOMING GAMES: vs. Binghamton State, Saturday, Dec. 11.

KEYS: The Orangemen obviously shouldn't have any problems in this one, but a key is going to be getting back on track from the free throw line. No regular besides Gerry McNamara is shooting better than 67 percent from the charity stripe. McNamara is making 81.1 percent of his attempts (30 of 37).

ROSTER REPORT: Terrence Roberts has emerged as a force off the bench. Against Colgate, he contributed 13 points and 8 rebounds, and he had eight points and four boards against Oklahoma State before fouling out.

-- Billy Edelin is slowly working his way back into the Orangemen rotation after missing the first five games and five weeks of practice. He has scored six points and has three assists in 37 minutes over three games. Edelin played 16 minutes against Oklahoma State.

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