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Offensive Issues: Syracuse records season-low 44 points in ugly loss to No. 2 Virginia

Syracuse's Marek Dolezaj soars through the lane for a dunk in the second half of Saturday's loss to No. 2 Virginia from the Carrier Dome.

It's no secret that this year's Syracuse University men's basketball team struggles on the offensive end.

That was incredibly evident following Saturday's 59-44 loss to No. 2 Virginia.

In front of college basketball's biggest crowd of the year (27,000+), the Orange were only able to muster a total of 44 points against perhaps the best defensive team in the sport.

The Virginia Cavaliers pride themselves on defense. Head coach Tony Bennett's infamous pack-line defense is based on the idea of everyone except the player guarding the ball must be inside an imaginary line 16 feet from the rim.

With Syracuse's big men considered nearly non-existent on the offensive end, that meant the Cavaliers forced the Orange to beat them with one of three players (Tyus Battle, Frank Howard or Oshae Brissett).

The three struggled, to say the least, combining for 35 of the team's 44 total points.

Not to mention, the Cavaliers outscored the Orange 27-0 in bench points.

With the game tied at 13-13 midway through the first half, Virginia used an 18-8 run to create the separation it needed to pull away for good.

"I don't think losing ever helps anybody, but we lost four straight games and we weren't disheartened," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "We won three and beat a pretty good Virginia Tech team. Obviously, Pittsburgh's not great but we beat them. We won over Boston College who's pretty good. So we weren't disheartened from those four. As an athlete and a competitor, you should never be disheartened."

Syracuse will be back in action on Monday night when it visits Louisville for a 7 p.m. start.

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