Syracuse Opens ACC Play with a Win
Beginning their ACC play on the right foot, Syracuse’s defense was key to their 68-56 victory over Virginia Tech on Sunday night.
Virginia Tech entered Sunday night’s match-up as the 9th best offense in nation scoring, averaging 91 points per contest. The Hokies also led the nation in field goal percentage, shooting 53.2%. Additionally, they were 6th in the nation in 3-point percentage at 42.7%. Syracuse held Virginia Tech to a season-low 56 points and the Hokies shot just 34.6% from the field. Virginia Tech connected on 10-of-30 of their attempts from behind the arc. The Orange blocked seven shots and outrebounded the Hokies, 39-26. Paschal Chukwu led the Orange with 3 blocks.
In the post-game press conference, Jim Boeheim applauded his team’s defensive effort. “I thought that defensively we were really good in the first half,” Boeheim said. “We took away their inside stuff and really got to their shooters. Second half started and we didn’t do a real good job defensively getting back. They got three open threes, they are a very good shooting team. We did a good job defending them and sometimes our zone is better against shooting teams.”
Offensively, the Orange shot 48.9% from the field. Freshman Oshae Brissett led Syracuse with 19 points and 9 rebounds in his first taste of ACC action. Tyus Battle recorded 17 points, 3 assists, and 2 steals. Frank Howard finished with 17 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists. Matthew Moyer contributed with a double-double in his first career ACC game with 11 points and 13 rebounds.
The Hokies were led by freshman guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker who scored 19 points in his first ACC performance.
Brissett, Battle, and Howard played all 40 minutes for Syracuse in the win. Despite the rumors that he would be a medical redshirt this season, Bourama Sidibe dressed, but did not play against the Hokies.
Syracuse now ranks 18th nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 62.2 points per game. The Orange are 5th in the country, outrebounding their opponents by 10.6 rebounds per game, and rank 9th nationally in blocks per game (6.4).
With the win, the Orange improved to 12-2 overall and 1-0 in ACC play.
Syracuse returns to action Wednesday, January 3 at 7pm at Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons are 7-6, but are coming off a close 73-69 loss to #13 North Carolina on the road. Wake Forest is led by Keyshawn Woods who is averaging 15.7 points per game. Syracuse won last year’s meeting 81-76 at the Carrier Dome.