Syracuse’s first game as a ranked team in almost a year didn’t turn out so well for the Orange.
Looking to bounce back from their first loss, the No. 21 Orange meet Washington on Friday in the consolation game of the NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden.
After three straight wins to open the season, Syracuse (3-1) made its first appearance in the Top 25 since it was ranked 23rd in mid-December. The Orange, though, could drop right back out after losing 79-65 to unranked Ohio State 79-65 in a semifinal game Wednesday.
Instead of playing for another NIT championship - which the Orange won during the 1988-89 and 2001-02 seasons - it will face Washington for the first time.
The Huskies (3-1) lost 77-63 to No. 16 Texas A&M in Wednesday’s other semifinal contest.
Friday’s game is a matchup of two perennial powers that are looking to bounce back from disappointing 2006-07 seasons. Each team started last season 7-0, but faltered down the stretch and failed to make the NCAA tournament.
While Washington was 19-13 and didn’t even make the postseason NIT field last season, Syracuse was unhappy that its 24-11 record and 10-6 mark in the Big East wasn’t good enough to get them into the NCAA tournament.
The Orange were hurt in part by a non-conference schedule that included no road games a season ago, but are playing 14 of their first 15 games in the state of New York this season.
With that in the past, both teams look to rebound and recover from their worst shooting performances of the young season.
Syracuse shot 36.2 percent from the field and just 5-for-25 from 3-point range against the Buckeyes.
“When we were patient we got some pretty good looks, and we just didn’t knock them down,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said.
Freshman Donte Greene continued his strong start with 21 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double. The 6-foot-9 Greene is averaging 19.5 points and 8.5 rebounds through four games.
Junior guard Eric Devendorf had 15 points to top the 1,000 mark for his career.
Washington, meanwhile, shot 38.2 percent and went 2-for-13 from beyond the arc for the game after making 53 percent of its shots in the first half against the defensive-minded Aggies.
“They did a good job guarding us,” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. “We didn’t knock down shots at crucial stages.”
The Huskies, who were held to fewer than 80 points for the first time in four games, committed 17 turnovers and were outrebounded 48-39 by Texas A&M.
“The rebounding was disappointing,” Romar said.
Washington forward Jon Brockman had 21 points and 15 rebounds for his second double-double. The 6-7 junior is averaging 22.5 points and 12.5 rebounds.
Washington looks to avoid a third straight loss to a ranked opponent. The Huskies went 5-8 against Top 25 teams last season, but beat then-No. 2 UCLA 61-51 at home on March 3.