COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Syracuse is young and inexperienced, and the Orange are learning some difficult lessons in their first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
After a 77-62 loss at No. 6 Maryland on Thursday night, coach Quentin Hillsman was more interested in talking about his team's potential than the particulars of its fourth setback in the last five games.
"I was very proud of my kids," he said. "There were times when we had two freshmen and two sophomores on the floor, and they really played hard. They competed. I feel really good about where we are, really good about our fight."
Syracuse (12-5, 1-3) has stumbled in league play after going 11-2 out of conference, but Hillsman expects things to improve once this team grows up.
"We have babies," he said. "We've played in tough environments, and our kids are really competing and playing hard. As long as they're doing that, we have to live with the outcome. Obviously, we don't like to lose. But I'm really proud of the effort."
Brianna Butler scored 14 and Alexis Peterson had 12 for Syracuse. The Orange got only nine points from leading scorer Brittney Sykes, who came in averaging 17.6 per game.
Syracuse came in leading the ACC with a turnover margin of plus-6.4, but the Orange committed 21 turnovers in this one and forced only nine.
"I think that Maryland is a great defensive basketball team, so that definitely caused trouble for us," Butler said. "But then again, we were also turning the ball over ourselves."