After a pair of losses to ranked opponents, Syracuse tries to rebound Saturday when it hosts a Colgate team it has defeated 40 straight times.
The 21st-ranked Orange (7-2) have dropped consecutive games for the first time this season after a 72-68 loss to No. 22 Oklahoma State in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday. They fell 64-61 at home to 10th-ranked Wichita State last Saturday.
Syracuse fell behind by 23 points in the first half and rallied to tie the game against the Shockers before falling short. The Orange then rallied from a 13-point deficit against the Cowboys with 3:45 left in the contest, but again couldn’t come all the way back.
“We’re just making too many mistakes on the offensive end for two games in a row now,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “We’re just not cohesive on the offensive end. We’re just trying to get the ball more inside and we’re just not comfortable right now doing that.”
The Orange shot 36.1 percent from the field against Wichita State before improving against Oklahoma State, going 25-for-49 (51.0). Syracuse struggled from beyond the arc in both contests, converting on a combined 10-of-31 attempts.
The team also struggled to hold on to the ball, turning it over 36 times in the two losses. The Orange are averaging 16.4 turnovers per game this season, the second most in the Big East behind South Florida’s 17.5 a contest.
One player singled out by Boeheim after Tuesday’s loss was freshman Paul Harris, who had 11 points and six turnovers. He also continued his struggles from beyond the arc, going 0-for-3.
“He’s 1-for-13 from the 3-point line,” Boeheim said of the forward’s performance for the season. “He thinks he can make them all I’ll give him that much. He is confident.”
Syracuse is 113-45 against Colgate (4-3), with its last loss coming during the 1961-62 season. After facing the Raiders, the Orange host Baylor, Drexel, Hofstra and St. Bonaventure before starting the Big East season on Jan. 4 against Pittsburgh.
Colgate avoided losing back-to-back games for the first time this season with an 82-34 rout of Division III Elmira on Wednesday.
Every player on the Raiders scored at least one basket in the win over the Soaring Eagles. Colgate coach Emmett Davis was able to rest leading scorer Jon Simon, who had five points in 18 minutes.
Simon has struggled in three career games against Syracuse. He went scoreless in last season’s meeting and is averaging 7.0 points while shooting 40.0 percent from the field, including just 25.0 percent (3-for-12) from 3-point range.