Syracuse rebounded from Tuesday night’s blowout loss to #22 Florida State with a 67-56 win over the Boston College Eagles in the Carrier Dome on Saturday afternoon.
With Syracuse trailing 17-16 after three free throws by Boston College’s Jordan Chatman, the game changed when Buddy Boeheim entered the contest for the Orange. Boeheim connected on three triples and a pair of free throws to help Syracuse take a 31-24 lead into the break. The Orange pulled away early in the second half and opened up a 60-40 advantage on a dunk by Tyus Battle. The Eagles would not go away easily. Boston College used a 14-0 run to pull within six, 60-54, when Ky Bowman nailed a trey with 3:54 left. Syracuse closed the game with a 7-2 spurt to hang on for a 67-56 victory.
The Orange’s vaunted 2-3 zone perplexed the Eagles all afternoon. Syracuse held Boston College to just 33.3-percent shooting and forced the Eagles into 18 turnovers. The 24 points Boston College scored in the first half was their lowest scoring output in a 20 minute period all season. The Orange shot the ball at a 41.5-percent clip and took advantage of the Eagles’ carelessness with the basketball, outscoring the visitors 25-5 in points off turnovers.
Bowman led Boston College with 21 points, on 7-of-12 from the field, eight rebounds, two assists, and two steals. The junior guard came off the bench due to a violation of a minor team rule. Chatman added 12 points, while Nik Popovic finished with 10 points and five boards in the loss.
Syracuse was paced by Battle who tallied 21 points, on an efficient 8-of-13 from the field, corralled four rebounds, and came away with three steals. Boeheim scored a career-high 16 points and grabbed three steals, while Oshae Brissett recorded his third consecutive double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
With the win, the Orange improved to 17-7 overall and 8-3 in ACC play. Syracuse sits in a tie for fourth place in the conference with Louisville who is ranked #16 in the nation.
Player of the Week: Buddy Boeheim
This week’s player of the week for Syracuse is Buddy Boeheim. “Daddy’s Boy,” as Pittsburgh students chanted last Saturday, is shooting 52.9-percent from three in the Orange’s last eight games. Boeheim’s prowess continued from beyond the arc will be key for Syracuse down the stretch to open driving lanes for Battle and Brissett.
Up Next: North Carolina State
Prior to their bye in ACC play this weekend, the Orange will travel to Raleigh to take on North Carolina State on Wednesday night. Tip-off is set for 8pm. The Wolfpack’s record is 17-7, 5-6 in league play. North Carolina State is coming off a 79-76 win at Pittsburgh on Saturday. Torin Dorn leads the Wolfpack in scoring, averaging 13.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.
The Syracuse Orange are just over halfway through the ACC portion of the schedule and hold a 16-7 overall mark and a 7-3 record in conference play. There is still a long way to go in the regular season, but as of right now Syracuse is sitting on the right side of the bubble—a feat that seemed unlikely following four losses in the non-conference season. Let’s take a look at the last few games and the road ahead in the ACC.
The Orange entered their contest with Miami on a two game win streak having beaten then #1 Duke on the road and former Big East rival Pittsburgh at home. The Hurricanes kept it close in the first half and Syracuse entered the locker room with a 32-29 lead. Clinging to a three point lead, 42-39, with 15:09 remaining, the Orange set off on a 19-5 run to take control for good. Syracuse pulled away to a 73-53 win at home.
The Orange’s vaunted 2-3 zone baffled Miami. The Hurricanes shot just 33.9-percent and turned the ball over 13 times. On the other hand, Syracuse shot it at a 49.1-percent clip, including 46.7-percent from beyond the arc.
DJ Vasiljevic led Miami with 11 points and eight rebounds in the losing effort.
Elijah Hughes paced the Orange with 22 points, on 8-of-13 shooting, three rebounds, three blocks, and three steals. Buddy Boeheim chipped in with 12 points and three boards off the bench, while Tyus Battle added 10 points, six rebounds, and nine assists.
Syracuse put their three game win streak on the line when they traveled to Blacksburg to take on the 10th ranked Virginia Tech Hokies. Virginia Tech raced out to a 43-24 halftime advantage. The Orange climbed to within eight, 43-35, on a free throw by Battle. Syracuse would get no closer the rest of the way and the Hokies would go on to win by a margin of 78-56.
Virginia Tech was shot over the zone by shooting 52.1-percent from the field and 46.7-percent from three-point land. The Hokies held the Orange to 36.4-percent from the floor.
Justin Robinson led Virginia Tech with 35 points, on 9-of-13 shooting from deep, three rebounds, and eight assists. Ahmed Hill scored 16 points, on 6-of-10 from the field, and six boards in the victory.
Oshae Brissett led the way for Syracuse as the sophomore forward tallied 16 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Frank Howard and Battle poured in 13 and 10 points, respectively.
The Orange looked to rebound from their loss at the Hokies with a win over the Boston College Eagles—Syracuse’s second game of a three game road trip. Trailing 15-6, the Orange used a 14-0 spurt to take a 20-15 lead with 9:48 left in the opening stanza on a jumper by Howard. Syracuse took a 42-35 lead into intermission. Boston College got within six on a layup by Ky Bowman with 2:04 to play. That was the closest the Eagles would get as the Orange hung on for a 77-71 victory.
Syracuse shot 55.8-percent from the floor and drilled 11 triples to come away with the win.
Bowman and Jordan Chatman scored 21 points each to pace Boston College. Bowman also dished out four assists. Jared Hamilton added 12 points, while Nik Popovich finished with 11 points and six rebounds for the Eagles.
Battle poured in 31 points, on 11-of-17 from the floor, collected four rebounds, and distributed six assists in the win. Boeheim came up with another solid performance off the bench with a career-high 13 points and three boards. Hughes knocked in 10 points and pulled down four rebounds to help earn the Orange earn the hard fought road win.
Syracuse squared off with Pittsburgh for the second time this season in hopes of completing their three game road trip with a record of 2-1. The Orange took as much as a 16-point lead in the first twenty minutes and a 13-point lead, 35-22, into the half. The Panthers cut Syracuse’s lead to five, 46-41, when Jared Wilson-Frame nailed a three-pointer with 10:09 to go. The Orange responded with a 9-0 run to take a 55-41 advantage that they would not relinquish. Syracuse went on to win 65-56.
Syracuse’s defense stymied Pittsburgh’s attack. The Orange held the Panthers to 31.6-percent shooting, while Syracuse shot it at a 41.5-percent clip.
Terrell Brown led Pittsburgh with 16 points, on 8-of-13 from the field, and six rebounds. Xavier Johnson scored 14 points, grabbed five rebounds, and dished out 6 assists, while Wilson-Frame tallied 12 points and came down with 10 rebounds.
Brissett posted a double-double with 18 points, on 6-of-9 from the floor, and 12 rebounds. Howard dropped in 15 points and pulled down three boards. Paschal Chukwu finished with 10 points and eight rebounds to help the Orange to victory.
Florida State made a trip to the Carrier Dome Thursday night as Syracuse eyed another three game win streak and their second win over a ranked conference opponent. The 22nd ranked Seminoles raced out to a 36-14 lead. The Orange used a 17-3 spurt to end the first half to pull with eight, 39-31, at the break. Syracuse cut Florida State’s lead to one, 46-45, but failed to get over the hump and take the lead. The Seminoles pulled away over the final nine minutes of the contest to earn an 80-62 win at the Dome.
Having fallen behind by 22 points so early in the game, the Orange pressed throughout, but were noticeably gassed down the stretch. Florida State shot a blistering 54.5-percent from the field, including 50-percent from distance. Syracuse’s comeback was stopped short mainly due to their inefficient from behind the three point line where the Orange connected on just 5-of-20 of their attempts.
Terance Mann stuffed the stat sheet for the Seminoles with 22 points, nine, rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Mfiondu Kabengele scored 18 points, pulled down eight rebounds, and blocked two shots off the bench. Phil Cofer and MJ Walker tallied 11 points each. Cofer ripped down three boards and distributed three assists as well.
Battle paced Syracuse with 23 points on 8-of-15 from the floor. Hughes added 17 points. Brissett posted his second consecutive double-double with 16 points and 12 boards.
Syracuse is quite the team when it gets contributions throughout the rotation, but in their most recent losses, Howard and Chukwu have been non-existent. For example, Howard and Chukwu played major roles in wins at Duke and Pittsburgh, but combined for zero points in the blowout loss at home to Florida State. Battle and Hughes have played well, but the Orange will certainly need their seniors to step up down the stretch in ACC play if they plan on being on the right side of the bubble and making another deep run in the “Big Dance.”
Player of the Week: Oshae Brissett
With the key role the Elijah Hughes has played in support of Tyus Battle in the 2018-19 campaign, Brissett has seen his numbers take a hit from his freshman to his sophomore season. Make no mistake, Brissett is still a key cog in the Orange machine. The Canadian product is averaging 13.7 points, on 40.5 shooting, and 7.8 rebounds per game this season and has recorded double-doubles in his last two games. He may need to continue to play like that if Howard and Chukwu are unable to produce down the stretch for Syracuse to have a chance a making a deep postseason run.
Up Next: Boston College and the Road Ahead
The Orange will host Boston College in the second meeting between the two schools this season. Tip-off inside the Carrier Dome is set for 2pm. The Eagles are 11-10 overall, 2-7 in league play and are coming off an 80-55 loss at Duke Tuesday night. Ky Bowman is one of the best players in the conference and has had stellar performances against Syracuse in the past. Bowman leads Boston College scoring 20.3 points, grabbing 7.8 rebounds, and dishing out 3.7 assists per contest.
After hosting Boston College, the Orange will play four of their last seven games against ranked opponents (home against Louisville, Duke, Virginia, and at North Carolina), while also traveling to North Carolina State, Wake Forest, and Clemson. Syracuse has positioned themselves well in the ACC standings as of right now, but there are tests still left to pass if the Orange prefer not having to sweat it out on Selection Sunday yet again.
The ACC should be one of the most exciting conferences in college basketball this season. How will it all shake out?
As the calendar turns to October, postseason baseball is in full force, but the college basketball season will soon be upon us, as many teams are opening their campaigns with practices and Midnight Madness events. The summer without college basketball is always long and grueling, but the season is right around the corner.
First, I would like to dive into what looks to be the best conference in basketball once again, the ACC. Here are my projections for the 2018-19 season.
1.)Duke Blue Devils
Duke will likely be atop the ACC again this year. Coach K brings in the top recruiting class in the country with the like of RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish, Zion Williamson, and Tre Jones making their way to Durham. The question mark for the Blue Devils is whether they will be able to generate any production from returners Marques Bolden and Javin DeLaurier. If this team can gel, it will be talented enough to win the ACC.
Virginia returns three key pieces from last year’s team that finished 31-3. It will be interesting how this team will rebound from being the first one seed to ever lose to a sixteen seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Cavaliers led by Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome will look to get back on the right track in 2018-19. Virginia’s X-factor is sophomore forward De’Andre Hunter who could be in the conversation for ACC Player of the Year, National Player of the Year, and the NBA Draft Lottery.
3.)North Carolina Tar Heels
Although overshadowed by Duke’s recruiting class only eight miles down Tobacco Road, North Carolina may have the 2019 NBA Draft number one overall pick in Chapel Hill this season. Nassir Little is the reigning MVP of the McDonald’s All-America game and he along with the rest of the Tar Heels, most notably Luke Maye, will look to be contenders in the ACC.
4.)Virginia Tech Hokies
The Hokies have an experienced senior class returning to Blacksburg this season that is one of the most successful in school history. Buzz Williams and company will look to make a run toward the top of the ACC and into the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
Despite having NCAA Tournament success in 2016 and 2018, the Orange have struggled to finish near the top of the ACC since their inaugural season in the league (2013-14). Hall of Fame coach, Jim Boeheim, returns all five starters, including Frank Howard, Tyus Battle, Oshae Brissett, Marek Dolezaj, and Paschal Chukwu, from a team that made it to the Sweet Sixteen a year ago. Syracuse should be a contender for the ACC title this season and stay well away from the dreaded NCAA Tournament bubble.
6.)Florida State Seminoles
After a surprising trip to the Elite Eight last year, Leonard Hamilton’s team will look to be a force in the ACC this year and get back to the “Big Dance.” The Seminoles have an experienced group that will only get better. Look for sophomore MJ Walker to have a break-out year as he fills in for Brain Angola who graduated in 2018.
In a year where Brad Brownell was on the hot seat, Clemson had one of its best years in program history and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1997. Marcquise Reed is one of the best players in the ACC and will look to build on his Second Team All-ACC campaign from a year ago. The Tigers should be an elite defensive team, but if they fail to make the NCAA Tournament, it will be because of their offense.
Amid the turmoil surrounding the program left by Rick Pitino, the Cardinals found themselves on the wrong side of the bubble last season. Interim head coach David Padgett was replaced by Chris Mack, who arrived in Louisville after leading Xavier to a Big East regular season crown and a one seed in the NCAA Tournament. VJ King and Malik Williams came to Louisville as possible NBA prospects, but failed to generate much hype under Padgett. King, Williams, and a myriad of graduate transfers under the guidance of Mack will look to make a run back to the NCAA Tournament.
9.)North Carolina State Wolfpack
Kevin Keatts led the Wolfpack to the “Big Dance” in his first year in Raleigh after taking over for Mark Gottfried. This year, North Carolina State will have nine newcomers on its roster, most notably CJ Bryce, who followed Keatts from UNC-Wilmington to NC State.
10.)Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame found itself the first team left out of the NCAA Tournament on Selection Sunday last season. The Fighting Irish will look a lot different than they have in the past as they lost Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell to graduation. TJ Gibbs Jr. and Rex Pflueger will need to step up and take leadership if Notre Dame has any chance of making an impact in the ACC and getting back on the right side of the bubble.
The Miami Hurricanes lost to Cinderella story Loyola-Chicago in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last year. Following that defeat, the Hurricanes lost Lonnie Walker IV and Bruce Brown to the NBA Draft. Miami returns a core of players from last year’s squad that finished 22-10, but lack the talent that they had in Walker IV and Brown. Chris Lykes and Dewan Huell will need to step up in their absence.
12.)Boston College Eagles
Had Jerome Robinson returned to Chestnut Hill for his senior season, Boston College would have been a lot higher in the ACC Preseason standings. The reality is that the Eagles will need to replace one of the most prolific scorers in the conference’s recent memory. With Robinson gone, Ky Bowman is the lead man for Boston College for the first time in his career. He has been a consistent scorer throughout the first two years of his career, but will need to make a big jump to lead the Eagles in the post-Jerome Robinson era if they hope to get back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009.
13.)Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Danny Manning is squarely on the hot seat after another disappointing season for the Demon Deacons a year ago. A tumultuous offseason saw Manning lose Bryant Crawford and Doral Moore to the NBA Draft, however, both of which went undrafted. Later in the summer, a member of Manning’s staff, Jamill Jones, was charged with third-degree assault for punching a 35-year-old man from Florida in the face in New York City. The man later died due to his injuries. Additionally, Keyshawn Woods transferred to Ohio State. The Demon Deacons are young and inexperienced. Aside from Chris Paul’s $2.5 million donation to the program, the future does not look bright for Wake Forest.
14.)Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Georgia Tech will be in the basement of the ACC yet again. After the Yellow Jackets went 13-19 a year ago, their best player, Josh Okogie, to the NBA Draft and Tadric Jackson and Ben Lammers to graduation. Jose Alvarado will look to build on an impressive freshman season in hopes of keeping Josh Pastner’s squad relevant in the ACC.
The Pittsburgh Panthers are in rebuilding mode after Kevin Stallings brought the program crashing down in only two seasons at the helm. The Panthers were the laughing stock of the ACC, and maybe even college basketball for that matter, a season ago as they failed to win a single conference game. Pitt went out and hired Coach K’s lead assistant Jeff Capel with hopes that his prowess on the recruiting trail could lead the program back to what it was under Jamie Dixon. For now, he is still left with the shambles that remain from the Stallings area. The good news for Pitt is that Jared Wilson-Frame and the rest of the Panthers have nowhere else to go, but up.
ACC Tournament: March 6-March 10, Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
The Atlantic Coast Conference will host their men’s basketball conference tournament at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the second consecutive year. The Tourney will feature eight teams destined for a run in the NCAA Tournament and teams fighting to build their resume for an at-large bid or to secure an automatic bid.
NCAA Tournament Locks: Virginia, Duke, Miami, Clemson, NC State, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Florida State
Virginia is playing for pride in Brooklyn. As regular season ACC Champions, the Cavaliers are a lock for a one seed in the NCAA Tournament at 28-2 overall, 17-1 in conference play. Virginia has a chance to claim both the regular season and ACC Tournament title for the first time since 2014, but the main goal for this week is to stay healthy and prime themselves for a deep run in March. ACC First Team performer Kyle Guy left Saturday’s game with a knee injury, but returned in the second half. Virginia Will open at noon on Thursday against the winner of the match-up between the eight seed Florida State and the nine seed Louisville.
Pending any slip-ups in the rest of the conference tournaments, a strong showing at the Barclays Center could land Duke a one seed. The Blue Devils have won six of their last seven, including a big comeback victory over arch rival North Carolina Saturday night. At 25-6 on the season, 13-5 in the ACC, Duke has improved defensively, led by ACC Player and Rookie of the Year Marvin Bagley III, All-ACC Second Team performer Wendell Carter, Jr., and All-ACC Third Team player Grayson Allen. They have the talent to win the ACC Tournament and make a deep run in the “Big Dance.” Duke will open on Thursday against either 10 Notre Dame/15 Pittsburgh or the seven seed Virginia Tech at 7pm.
Miami (22-8, 11-7) looked like they were headed for the bubble after three straight losses to Boston College, Virginia, and Syracuse, but responded with four wins in a row down the stretch. The Hurricanes are a lock for the NCAA Tournament and will look to improve their seed at the ACC Tournament. ACC All-Rookie Team member Lonnie Walker IV has proven to be a go to scorer and a clutch performer. Miami will open against 11 Syracuse/14 Wake Forest or the six seed North Carolina on Thursday at 9:30pm.
Clemson has proved to be one of the best surprises of college basketball this season. Despite losing their second leading scorer, Donte Grantham, to a torn ACL in early January, the Tigers ended the season at 22-8 overall, 11-7 in conference—good for fourth place. All-ACC Second Team selection Marcquise Reed will look to lead Clemson to an ACC Tournament Championship and a possible top four seed in the “Big Dance” that could lead them to a chance to play their first weekend games in either Charlotte or Nashville. Clemson will open against either 12 Boston College/13 Georgia Tech or the five seed NC State on Thursday at 2:30pm.
NC State was once a bubble team, but as the season progressed, the Wolfpack have proven themselves to be a giant killer. At 21-10 on the season, 11-7 in the ACC, NC State has beaten Arizona, Duke, Clemson, North Carolina, and Florida State. Led by All-ACC Third Team player, Omer Yurtseven, the Wolfpack will be a tough out for the top teams in both the ACC and NCAA Tournaments. NC State will open against the winner of 12-seed Boston College and 13-seed Georgia Tech on Wednesday at 2:30pm.
North Carolina is the six seed in the ACC Tournament. Losing to Duke in the last game of the regular season pushed the Tar Heels into a four-way tie for third place, in which they lost all tiebreakers. North Carolina will look to use the ACC Tournament as an opportunity to get back to their winning ways prior to the “Big Dance.” Prior to the last week of the regular season, the Tar Heels were winners of six consecutive games and were one of the hottest teams in the country. Losses to Miami and Duke to close the regular season make it imperative for North Carolina to win at least one game in Brooklyn to hang onto a two or three seed in the NCAA Tournament. Joel Berry II, Theo Pinson, and Luke Maye will look to have the team primed and ready for the Tar Heels to leave their mark on March Madness once again. North Carolina will open against the winner of the 11-seed Syracuse and the 14-seed Wake Forest on Wednesday at 9:30pm.
Virginia Tech entered ACC play as one of the top offensive teams in the country, but struggled to play any semblance of defense. Over their last eight games of the regular season, the Hokies finished 5-3, including wins over Virginia, Clemson, and Duke. Over that same stretch, Virginia Tech held opponents to 66.3 points per game—five below their season average. As the saying goes, defense wins championships. The Hokies, led by All-ACC Second Team selection, Justin Robinson, will look to prove that true at the Barclays Center this week. Virginia Tech will open against the winner of the 10-seed Notre Dame and the 15-seed Pittsburgh on Wednesday at 7pm.
Florida State travels to Brooklyn as the 8-seed at 20-10 overall, and 9-9 in the ACC. The Seminoles have been in and out of the top 25 all season and closed the regular season with a 5-5 record in their last 10 games. Florida State should still be in the NCAA Tournament, even if they were to lose to Louisville in their first game of the ACC Tournament on Wednesday at noon. Terance Mann will look to lead the Seminoles to ensure a bid come Selection Sunday.
On the Bubble: Louisville, Notre Dame, Syracuse
Despite all of the off the court issues this season, Louisville finds themselves squarely on the bubble as they head to the Barclays Center. If the Cardinals can get a win over Florida State and revenge against De’Andre Hunter and Virginia, they should feel good about their chances of securing an at-large bid. All-ACC Defensive Team member Anas Mahmoud will look to lead Louisville to a bid this week, beginning Wednesday at noon against Florida State.
Notre Dame is one of the selection committee’s greatest sources of conclusion this season. After playing a majority of their ACC schedule without Preseason ACC Player of the Year, Bonzie Colson, All-ACC Third Team performer Matt Farrell kept the ship afloat for the Fighting Irish. Now, with Colson back in the lineup, the committee may elect to view Notre Dame’s resume based on how they played with their star on the floor. The Fighting Irish need to avoid losing to winless Pittsburgh in the first round at 2:30pm on Tuesday, and may need wins over Virginia Tech and Duke to solidify a berth to the “Big Dance.”
America’s favorite bubble team, the Syracuse Orange, have managed to find themselves in need of wins in the ACC Tournament to hear their names called on Selection Sunday yet again. The Orange will look for their first win in the conference tournament since joining the ACC in the 2013-14 season. Second Team All-ACC player Tyus Battle, All-ACC Rookie Team member Oshae Brissett, and runner-up for the title of the ACC’s Most Improved Player, Frank Howard, would shoulder most of the responsibility for earning the at-large bid if they are able to. Syracuse likely needs two wins this week to feel good about their chances to do so. The Orange will open against Wake Forest on Tuesday at 7pm.
Boston College defeated Syracuse 85-70 in Chestnut Hill, MA Wednesday night.
The Eagles jumped out to a 34-22 lead with 6:09 left in the opening stanza, but the Orange used an 11-0 run to pull within one, 34-33, at the 1:36 mark. The teams traded baskets and entered halftime with Boston College clinging to a 40-37 lead.
Jordan Chatman drained a three-pointer on the opening possession of the final twenty minutes. Tyus Battle made a free throw on the ensuing possession to cut the Eagles’ lead to five, but Syracuse would not get any closer the rest of the way. A Jerome Robinson free throw with 6:13 to go gave Boston College a 73-57 advantage.
The Eagles shot 48.1% from the field, including a blistering 14-of-27 from three. The Orange were successful on just 38% of their shots from the field, including 10-of-24 from deep, but turned the ball over 15 times.
Boston College was led by Ky Bowman’s 23 points, on 7-of-12 from the field and 5-of-8 from distance, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals. Robinson scored 22 points and dished out 7 assists. Chatman contributed with 18 points, including five made three-pointers, and 4 rebounds.
Syracuse was led by Battle who tallied 29 points on 7-of-18 shooting, including 5-of-10 from beyond the arc. Oshae Brissett added 18 points and 9 rebounds. Frank Howard finished with 17 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists.
Paschal Chukwu grabbed 9 rebounds in the losing effort.
Jim Boeheim commented on his team’s performance in his postgame press conference. “Second half, the biggest disappointment we gave up three fast-break layups and we gave up two offensive rebound baskets and we can’t give those up,” Boeheim said. “They [Boston College] are a very good team. They obviously shoot the ball well and they made a lot of good plays and a lot of good shots tonight.”
With the loss, the Orange fell to 18-12 overall, 7-10 in the ACC, while the Eagles improved to 17-13 on the season, 7-10 in conference play. Syracuse clinched their first losing season in the ACC since joining the league in the 2013-14 season, which includes three puzzling road losses to Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, and Boston College, and zero wins over ranked teams.
The Orange will look to break that trend when they host #18 Clemson in the regular season finale on Saturday at 2pm. Syracuse, which has now lost four of their last five games, are in desperate need of a win to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive and gain momentum leading into next week’s ACC Tournament. The Tigers are 22-7 overall, 11-6 in the ACC, and are coming off a 76-63 win over Florida State on Wednesday. Clemson is led by Marcquise Reed who is averaging 15.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game. Last year, the Orange defeated Clemson, 82-81, on a three-pointer by Battle at the buzzer. Senior Patrick Herlihy and Braedon Bayer will be honored prior to the game in a special Senior Day ceremony.
Syracuse lost 60-44 to Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium last night.
The Blue Devils controlled the game from the opening tip. The atmosphere combined with the effectiveness of Duke’s 2-3 zone made it a tough night for the Orange.
Both teams struggled early, but a layup by Tyus Battle cut the Blue Devils’ lead to 12-8 with 10:42 remaining in the opening stanza. Duke outscored Syracuse 15-8 the rest of the half to take a 27-16 lead into the break.
Battle connected on a pair of free throws to bring the Orange within seven, 37-30, with 9:49 to go, but that was the closest Syracuse would get.
Neither team shot the ball well from three. Oshae Brissett made the first three for the Orange with 15:15 left to play, while Trevon Duval converted the Blue Devils’ first successful try from deep with 7:35 left.
For Syracuse to have had any chance to pull off the upset, they were in need of an off night from Duke offensively. The Orange held the Blue Devils to 41.5% from the field, but Syracuse’s offensive performance was even worse. The Orange shot just 31.5% from the field.
Duke dominated on the interior. The Blue Devils were led by ACC Player of the Year candidate, Marvin Bagley III, who scored 19 points and grabbed 7 rebounds off the bench. It was Bagley III’s first action after missing the previous four contests with a sprained knee. Wendell Carter Jr., who was named in the FBI probe for receiving impermissible benefits, was cleared by Duke’s compliance office Friday afternoon. The freshman big man recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Carter Jr. added 4 assists and 4 steals to help his team to victory.
Syracuse was led by Battle’s 12 points and 4 rebounds. Frank Howard tallied 11 points and dished out 7 assists. Paschal Chukwu added 6 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out. Brissett finished with 6 points.
Jim Boeheim commented on his team’s performance in his postgame press conference. “They [Duke] were able to get some stuff in low that we can’t get,” Boeheim said. “I thought that was really the difference in the game. We made some really bad turnovers in transition, in the middle of the court, careless turnovers that you can’t make. Both teams struggled to shoot and we have struggled to shoot most of the year. I don’t think that Coach K should really be allowed to play zone,” Boeheim joked.
With the loss, the Orange fell to 18-11 overall, 7-9 in the ACC, while the Blue Devils improved to 24-5, 12-4 in conference play.
Syracuse will play the first of their last two games that are both must wins when they travel to Chestnut Hill, MA to take on Boston College on Wednesday at 9pm. The Eagles are 16-13 overall, 6-10 in the ACC, and are coming off a 79-78 loss at Miami on Saturday. The Orange will look to sweep the season series from Boston College. Syracuse beat the Eagles, 81-63, at the Carrier Dome on January 24.
Syracuse picked up their second consecutive win in ACC play with an 81-63 victory over the Boston College Eagles Wednesday night.
Boston College connected on their first five field goal attempts and opened up an early 14-7 lead. After five straight points from Tyus Battle and a layup by Frank Howard, Syracuse to tie the game at 14. Oshae Brissett knocked down a jumper with 10:56 left in the opening stanza gave Orange a 21-20 lead—one they would never relinquish.
Syracuse shot a blistering 64.3% in the first half to take a 47-37 lead into the break.
Ky Bowman opened the second half scoring with a 3-pointer to bring the Eagles within 7. Boston College would not get any closer. Following Bowman’s trey, the Orange went on an 11-0 run to take control for good.
Syracuse shot 55% in the second half and finished with their best shooting performance of the season thus far (60.4%). The Orange placed five players in double figures and were led by Battle who scored 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting. Howard tallied 18 points, grabbed 3 rebounds, and dished out 6 assists on zero turnovers. Paschal Chukwu finished with 14 points and 7 rebounds. Brissett added 13 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 steals. Marek Dolezaj rounded out the offensive attack scoring a career-high 12 points on 4-of-4 shooting from both the floor and the foul line. Dolezaj recorded 8 rebounds as well.
Jim Boeheim commented on his team’s performance in his postgame press conference. “I thought the difference in this game was our offense,” Boeheim said. “We moved the ball, obviously we made shots in the first half. In the second half, we didn’t make some outside shots, but we got to the basket. We worked all week on making sure we guarded the three and we gave them four straight threes to start the game and that’s just not good basketball. When you focus on one thing for two or three days, you should do better. In the second half, we defended a little better and then we got down and got some good offensive possessions. We had good balance with everybody pitching in. It was a really good win.”
Jerome Robinson led Boston College with 21 points, while Bowman finished with 20 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists.
One downfall for the Orange is that their already thin bench got even thinner. Five minutes into the contest, Matthew Moyer suffered a sprained left ankle after coming down with a rebound. Dolezaj played the rest of the way, while the rest of Syracuse’s frontcourt (Brissett and Chukwu) played all 40 minutes. Battle also played the entire game. The Orange, who had not played since defeating Pittsburgh eight days ago, showed no signs of fatigue tonight. Syracuse will need to be ready for a rematch with the Panthers on Saturday.
With the win, the Orange improved to 14-6 overall, 3-4 in the ACC, while the Eagles fell to 13-8 on the season and 3-5 in conference play.
Syracuse returns to action at Pittsburgh on Saturday at 4pm. The Panthers are 8-13 overall, 0-8 in the ACC, and are coming off a 72-68 loss to North Carolina State on Wednesday night. The Orange will look to sweep the season series after they defeated Pittsburgh 59-45 in the Carrier Dome last Tuesday. Howard led Syracuse with 18 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 5 steals in the win, while Parker Stewart poured in 23 points to lead the Panthers in a losing effort.