SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Playing in one of the most storied venues in college basketball, Seattle U men's basketball finally found its shooting touch in the second half. But a slow start coupled with a hot-shooting Syracuse side sent the Redhawks to an 89-67 defeat to the Orange at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y. Saturday night as part of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
The Redhawks won the tip and scored the game's first bucket – a Myles Carter Layup off a Morgan Means feed – but Syracuse would the over from there, hitting seven of their first eight attempts, quickly building a 17-4 advantage.
Seattle U's outside shoot struggles continued into the first half Saturday night, as they hit just 1-12 from three, 9-33 overall. Led by Joe Girard's 13 first-half points, the Orange went 7-14 from deep and 15-24 overall to carry a 44-26 lead into the break.
After hitting a combined eight three pointers over the past three games, the Redhawks finally found their mark in the second frame, going 7-13 from deep.
Means opened the half with a triple, Terrell Brown and Mattia Da Campo each hit one and Delate Jones drained a pair, all in periods first seven minutes, cutting the deficit to 12, 57-45. A third Jones' three would make it 59-48 with 13:01 to play.
Trailing 61-48, the Redhawks would put together a 6-0 spurt, capped by four-point play by Aaron Nettles, that brought the spread down to seven, 61-54. But Syracuse answered with a 10-2 run of its own and the teams would eventually trade points down the stretch.
"We didn't put resistance against Syracuse and their offense in the first 10 minutes of the game," said Head Coach Jim Hayford. "And we shot the ball very poorly. Then we opened the second half by putting resistance against their offense and making shots, and then we looked like we belonged on the court with them.
"I wish we could have given then 40 quality minutes," Hayford said. "But they did what good teams do, which is expose you when you're not playing quality basketball."
Brown led the Redhawks for the fourth time this season, finishing with 23 points to go along with seven rebounds and three assists. Jones added 12 points and Carter had 10 points and 10 boards. Means finished with five points, five assists and four steals.
Girard paced Syracuse with 24 points. Five total Cuse players scored in double figures as the home side shot just shy of 60 percent for the game.
The Redhawks continue on the road Tuesday, traveling to face Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss. Tip off from The Pavilion in Oxford, Miss., is set for 6:30 p.m. Central, 4:30 p.m. Pacific. The game will air live on the SEC Network.