Second half woes plague Syracuse in shocking home loss to Old Dominion

Syracuse guard Tyus Battle [middle] poured in 23 points in a home loss to Old Dominion on Saturday afternoon from the Carrier Dome. (PHOTO: Matt Hauswirth)

It's a Saturday afternoon to forget for Orange basketball fans across Central New York.

After taking a 10-point halftime lead, Syracuse turned in a dreadful second half performance as Old Dominion took advantage en route to a 68-62 win.

The Orange looked to be in control at the half, taking as much as a 13-point lead over the Monarchs at one point in the first half.

But that soon changed in the second half.

Old Dominion slowly chipped away at the deficit, led by BJ Stith (18 points) and Xavier Green (15 points).

Stith, a transfer from Virginia, took over down the stretch, scoring clutch baskets while converting 10-for-11 at the free throw line to seal the deal.

Old Dominion's Ahmed Caver knocked down a three-pointer with just over five minutes to play in regulation, giving the Monarchs their first lead since early in the game, 51-50.

From there, Tyus Battle kept the Orange afloat with timely baskets to keep them within striking distance.

However, too many missed free throws plagued Syracuse, who went 22-for-34 at the line (64.7%).

Oshae Brissett and Tyus Battle each knocked down three-pointers late in the game, but Stith's late heroics kept the Monarchs in the lead for good, resulting in a 68-62 upset win for Old Dominion.

"We have to play better," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said during his post game press conference. "You learn every night -- we learned tonight that we certainly didn't shoot very well. We didn't make our free throws. We weren't physical enough. We have to get more out of the center position to be successful."

"I mean, you can say so, but at this point we've played enough basketball that we don't need losses like this to refocus," Orange junior guard Tyus Battle answered. "We should be focused every time we step out on the floor. We just need to be ready to play."

The loss drops Syracuse to 7-3 overall on the year, with a major non-conference showdown with the 14th-ranked Buffalo Bulls set for Tuesday night at 8 p.m. on ESPN2.

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