Syracuse Shocks Clemson
Syracuse upset #18 Clemson 55-52 and claimed a signature win at the Carrier Dome on Saturday. The win was the team’s first victory over a ranked opponent this season.
The Tigers took a 50-49 lead on a layup by Elijah Thomas with 3:51 to go. The Orange responded with five free throws, three by Oshae Brissett and two by Paschal Chukwu, to claim a 54-50 lead with 1:30 left. Marcquise Reed cut Syracuse’s lead to two with a layup with seconds remaining. The Orange held on thanks to a thunderous block by Brissett with 4 seconds to go led to a free throw by Marek Dolezaj to provide the final margin. A half-court heave by Gabe DeVoe at the buzzer was halfway down, but popped out as Syracuse survived.
The Orange used a 12-2 run to jump out to an early 14-7 lead at the 10:21 mark. Clemson responded by outscoring Syracuse 18-8 the rest of the half and took a 25-22 lead into the break.
The Orange came out shooting after halftime and jumped out to seven point lead with 9:21 left.
Syracuse’s defense held the Tigers to 40% shooting from the field and forced Clemson into 12 turnovers. The Orange shot just 30.2% from the field, but took care of the ball. Syracuse turned the ball over only seven times.
The Tigers were led by Reed’s 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting. Reed made all five of Clemson’s three point baskets. Thomas poured in 18 points and grabbed 6 rebounds.
The Orange were led by Brissett and Tyus Battle who scored 17 points apiece. Brissett corralled 6 rebounds and blocked three shots, while Battle collected 5 rebounds.
Frank Howard added 11 points and 5 rebounds, while Dolezaj finished with 8 points. Chukwu recorded five rebounds and four blocks.
In just his sophomore season, Battle tallied the 1,000th point of his Syracuse career in the win. Battle joined elite company in accomplishing that feat. Only Gerry McNamara, Billy Owens, Lawrence Moten, and Jonny Flynn scored 1,000 points before the end of their sophomore season as a member of the Orange prior to Battle on Saturday.
Seniors Patrick Herlihy and Braedon Bayer were honored in a Senior Day ceremony prior to the game.
Jim Boeheim commented on his team’s performance in his postgame press conference. “It was just a tough, defensive game,” Boeheim said. “It was a huge battle. It was just a grind it out game. Clemson is very good. We struggled for everything we got tonight, but at the end of the day we made a couple plays at the end that was the difference.”
With the win, Syracuse finished its 2017-18 regular season with a 19-12 overall record, 8-10 in the ACC and are seated squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble. The Orange will likely need two wins at the ACC Tournament in Brooklyn to feel comfortable about their chances of receiving an at-large bid on Selection Sunday. Clemson fell to 22-8 on the season and 11-7 in conference play.
Syracuse will be the 11-seed in this week’s ACC Tournament and will take on the 14-seed Wake Forest on Tuesday at 7pm. The two teams split the regular season with each team winning at home. The Demon Deacons won 73-67 in Winston-Salem, NC, while Syracuse captured a 78-70 win at the Dome. Wake Forest is led by Bryant Crawford’s 16.5 points and 4.9 assists per game.