Christmas sits with foul trouble, Keita struggles in extended 2nd-half minutes

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 15, 2014 at 12:33 am Contact David: [email protected] | @DBWilson2 GREENSBORO, N.C. — Just 2:03 into the second half of No. 2-seed Syracuse’s 66-63 loss to No. 7-seed North Carolina State in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament quarterfinals, Rakeem Christmas made a prolonged trip to the Orange’s (27-5, 14-4 ACC) bench inside the Greensboro Coliseum.The forward had just picked up his fourth foul and he would have to spend most of the frame on the sideline.No. 11 SU trailed by just one when Christmas left the game and seven minutes later had fallen behind by 10.“We were able to get the ball around the basket,” N.C. State head coach Mark Gottfried said, “and we were fortunate there when he got his fourth foul.”With Christmas in foul trouble, Syracuse was forced to rely on Baye Moussa Keita in the middle of the zone for most of the second half. He performed poorly and the Wolfpack (21-12, 9-9) was able to rack up 30 points in the paint en route to an upset win. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textNCSU center Jordan Vandenberg alone scored on all five of his field-goal attempts.“It wasn’t necessarily by design we were going at him. We wanted to get the ball inside,” Gottfried said. “It’s got to go in there some.”Christmas was more aggressive on the offensive end than he was during the Orange’s disastrous end to the regular season, but it didn’t yield any results. He attempted two short jumpers early in the first half, but failed to connect on either. The only field goal he did make was on an alley-oop from Jerami Grant.And Keita was even worse. During one stretch in the second half he fumbled a rebound out of bounds, got shredded by North Carolina State forward Lennard Freeman on the other end and had his only field goal of the game blocked by Vandenberg.“You’d like to have him in there, there’s no question about that,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said of Christmas. “But he was out of position three times and if he had been in the right position, he wouldn’t have been in foul trouble.” Commentslast_img

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