Orange seek turnaround against Yellow Jackets

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Updated: 3/07 9:54 am

Syracuse, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - The seventh-ranked Syracuse Orange hope they can put an end to their recent slide on Tuesday night when they take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in Atlantic Coast Conference action at the Carrier Dome.

After Georgia Tech enjoyed a solid run through its non-conference schedule (9-4), it failed to live up to those standards during ACC play, as it has gone just 4-12 in the league. The Yellow Jackets are currently losers of a season- high four straight games, most recently dropping an 81-71 decision at Florida State on Sunday to fall to 4-7 on the road.

Syracuse was cruising right along having won each of its first 25 games and ascending all the way to No. 1 in the country, but since its fast start it has cooled down considerably by losing three of its last four. The Orange dipped to 13-3 in the ACC on Saturday afternoon in a road loss to Virginia, 75-56, which subsequently clinched the regular-season conference title.

Georgia Tech and Syracuse have never before met as ACC foes and the all-time series is knotted up at two games apiece.

While the Orange's first two losses this season came by a combined seven points, they were thoroughly outmatched over the weekend by Virginia, as they were outshot from the field, 50 percent to 35.7 percent, and outrebounded, 39-29, en route to the 19-point setback. Tyler Ennis and C.J. Fair poured in 13 points apiece, while Trevor Cooney followed closely behind with 12 points, but the trio combined to shoot just 12-of-36 from the field (.333).

Even Syracuse's recent slide hasn't dampened its outstanding season. While its offensive production has been modest at best (.441 FG percentage, 68.3 ppg), it has been carried by an excellent defensive effort, as it holds opponents to 41 percent shooting for 59.1 ppg, the latter ranking in the top-10 nationally. The squad also owns positive margins in terms of turnovers (+4.8) and rebounding (+3.3). Fair is the top scoring option with 16.3 ppg on 43.1 percent field-goal shooting to go with 6.1 rpg and 1.2 spg. Cooney puts up 12.8 ppg on 82-of-206 from 3-point range (.398), Ennis has been stellar during his freshman campaign with 12.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg and 2.0 spg and Jerami Grant brings 11.8 ppg and 6.7 rpg to the frontcourt.

The Yellow Jackets fell behind Florida State by four at the half of their most recent bout and could never recover en route to the 10-point defeat, as they were outshot from the field, 52.4 percent to 36.2 percent, and outscored at the free-throw line, 31-16. Robert Carter Jr. was stellar despite the setback, as he knocked down all 11 of his tries from the charity stripe on his way to 20 points. Trae Golden poured in 16 points, while Daniel Miller tallied a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Georgia Tech's offensive performance this season has not been up to par, as it shoots 43.1 percent from the field for just 66.7 ppg, which has all but spoiled an impressive effort on the defensive end of the court (.424, 67.3 ppg). Golden is the team's top scorer with 12.7 ppg, although he does so with lackluster percentages from the field (.397) and 3-point range (.311). Marcus Georges-Hunt puts up 11.9 ppg, while Miller (11.1 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 2.4 bpg) and Carter (10.6 ppg, 8.3 rpg) have both been impressive assets in the frontcourt.

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