Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 29, 2018 at 11:16 pm Contact Nick: firstname.lastname@example.org | @nick_a_alvarez Comments No. 12 Syracuse (6-2) was on the wrong end of a 12-4 late fourth-quarter run and fell to No. 20 Minnesota (6-0), 72-68, on Thursday night in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge. The Golden Gophers halted SU’s five-game winning streak. Both of the Orange’s losses have come in true road games against ranked opponents. A 13-1 fourth quarter run initially propelled the Orange. SU passed Minnesota for its first lead in three frames when Amaya Finklea-Guity converted a layup. Emily Engstler knocked in a layup with 3:36 left to stretch the margin to six. Then Syracuse missed five-straight shots, including a handful of botched layups, and Minnesota roared back. (“Minnesota) did a good job of getting close to the paint,” SU head coach Quentin Hillsman said postgame. “Playing the rim, they were the more physical team. We knew the game could’ve been won in the paint. …That’s one thing we got to get better at.”Four double-digit scorers — Tiana Mangakahia (11), Kiara Lewis (14), Miranda Drummond (12) and Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi (10) — carried the Orange. Mangakahia tied her season-low in points, shot 5 for 19 from the field and fouled out with 10 seconds left. Djaldi-Tabdi continued her fast-start, adding five blocks and three boards. Guard Kenisha Bell led the Golden Gophers with 24 points on 9 for 25 shooting while playing the entire game. Taiye Bello also never subbed out, pairing 20 points with 18 rebounds. Four of Minnesota’s starters played at least 38 minutes. Hillsman called Bello the “best” rebounder he’s faced. AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I know it don’t look like but we game planned for that,” Hillsman said. “…We were going to face box-out.”Syracuse shot one-for-six from deep in the first quarter and Minnesota opened up a 23-14 lead. While SU ran its offense and failed to execute, the Golden Gophers worked to the line and went eight of nine. The Orange cut the deficit to five at the break, thanks to 3-pointers from Gabrielle Cooper and Digna Strautmane.Down 11 in the third quarter following a Bello free throw, Mangakahia charged down the floor and made a layup. One minute later, Mangakahia made another. A Lewis free throw late in the frame preserved the one-possession game.SU kept shooting in the second half and kept missing. It made one of nine attempts from deep and missed five in the decisive fourth quarter. Looking for offense in the paint, Syracuse found success and tallied five offensive rebounds. But then Minnesota went back to the stripe and notched 11 more free points. A Cooper deep ball in the final seconds did nothing but keep the score competitive. “We knew coming that into this environment that if we didn’t get to the foul line and we didn’t control the rebounding, that we didn’t have a chance to win this game,” Hillsman said. “That’s pretty much what happened.”Syracuse returns to the Carrier Dome on Sunday to face Towson (3-3) at 2 p.m.
How the ping pong balls bounce could largely determine the answer to a question the Lakers have pondered all season.How long will their rebuilding take? Will it involve a quick turnaround as the once-storied franchise shown it has done in the past? Or will this become more prolonged than two consecutive missed playoff appearances? The Lakers’ 106-98 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday at Staples Center provided only some clarity. The Lakers (21-58) will likely finish no worse than having the NBA’s fourth-worst record, which would give them an 11.9 percent chance in landing the top pick and 37.8 percent odds to move into the top three in the draft lottery on May 19. Still, the Lakers have a 17.2 percent chance to fall either sixth or seventh, forcing them to trade the pick to Philadelphia as part of the Steve Nash deal. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “Some people might say that’s tanking, but you’re really trying to evaluate the talent you have so you can put the best team out for next year,” Scott said. “You want to get a look at some of our young guys and put them in situations to see how they react.”The reasoning seems logical. “When you have veteran players, you have a pretty good idea of what they can do,” Scott said. “You want to get a look at all the young guys you have and see if they can be a part of the future.”The Lakers offered some promise with five players scoring in double figures, including Ryan Kelly (21 points), Brown (19), Clarkson (18), Black (18) and Wesley Johnson (10). But that came against Minnesota, whose starting lineup also featured three rookies, including Andrew Wiggins (29 points), former UCLA standout Zach LaVine (16) and Adreian Payne (13). The Timberwolves roster also missed a combined 292 games because of various injuries. Yet, the Lakers maintain they still have a purpose. They need to win at least one more of their three remaining games to avoid cementing the worst winning percentage in franchise history, something the 1957-58 Minneapolis Lakers currently hold with a 19-53 mark in a 72-game season. That team won 26.3 percent of its games, while the current Lakers have won 26.58 percent of theirs.“There still is something to play for,” Scott said. “It’s not the playoffs or anything like that. But there’s just pride, being a professional and coming out and being a competitor.” Even if the Lakers’ persistent losing could indirectly accelerate their rebuilding, coach Byron Scott expressed support for the NBA changing the lottery system. “I don’t know if you go like football where the team with the worst record gets the first pick,” Scott said. “Then you’ll have a whole lot of teams trying to tank during the season when they feel they have no hope of making the playoffs. I don’t know what the system is or if it needs to be completely overhauled. But it needs to be tweaked.”The Lakers have maintained they have not lost games intentionally. The Lakers assembled an unproven roster, but general manager Mitch Kupchak has said that mostly stemmed from wanting to maintain financial flexibility for the free agency sweepstakes in July. The Lakers also entered Friday’s contest fielding players missing combined 312 games due to injuries, the most costly absences including Kobe Bryant, Nash and Julius Randle. Meanwhile, Scott sat veteran forwards Carlos Boozer for the eighth time in the past 11 games as well as Jordan Hill for six of the last 11 contests. The Lakers also featured three rookies in their starting lineup, including Jordan Clarkson, Jabari Brown and Tarik Black. But Scott maintained those moves stemmed from a different line of thinking.