The Syracuse Orange finally found some relief on Feb. 24, but not by much. After the Orange officially lost the No. 1 spot in the polls, their greater concern was ending a two-game losing streak against the Maryland Terrapins. Even that was nearly lost to Syracuse, although it somehow held on by 57-55, in a fitting way to end its wild month of February.
The Orange had it relatively easy in the first half, as they were up by eight and went into halftime on a Tyler Ennis buzzer beating three. Syracuse built the lead up to 12 with under six minutes left, but like everything in these last two weeks and for much of this month, nothing came easy at the end.
The Terrapins chipped away and the Orange couldn't find a way to put them down for good, until they were on the brink of losing. Yet when the Terrapins were down by 56-55 and had a chance to lead in the final seconds, Nick Faust was stopped from laying the ball up by Baye Moussa Keita.
However, it was debatable whether Faust was actually fouled -- giving the Orange the beneficial no-call it didn't get at the end against the Duke Blue Devils on Feb. 22. Instead of exploding at the referees again, coach Jim Boeheim stayed quiet as Syracuse stopped Maryland, made one more free throw, and watched a buzzer beater by the Terrapins fall short.
The Orange still came much closer than they should have to losing a third straight game after a 25-0 start. Technically, there are few good reasons why Syracuse shouldn't be on a five-game losing streak right now. Although the month of February started with the Orange being perfect -- and started with a perfect statement win over the Blue Devils -- March approaches with Syracuse looking far shakier.
With the Orange having to face the ACC leading Virginia Cavaliers on the road to start March, this next month doesn't stand to be any easier. If it ends the same way that February did -- and well before the Final Four, at that -- it will go down as one of the most disappointing seasons of the Boeheim era, considering how it all started.
The accompanying slideshow lists the wild and crazy ordeals Syracuse found itself in during February, which sets the bar even higher for March.