Syracuse basketball earns its 1st marquee win of the season vs Virginia in OT

Syracuse basketball was in desperation mode and they cashed in vs Virginia. Here are the highlights and what this means for the Orange.

Things were getting dicey for the Syracuse basketball squad, but they finally won a close ACC contest with a thrilling win over Virginia. Here’s how it all played out.

First half

In the first game between these two squads, it was a mud fight that was frankly hard to watch. The first half of the rematch was no different.

Thankfully the Orange was bailed out by some deep lobs by Elijah Hughes who connected on two of his three long-range attempts. Also, Joe Girard III completed two additional triple tries and that was the difference in the first half on the scoreboard.

After only playing six players earlier this week vs Virginia Tech, Jim Boeheim proved more willing to go to his bench by increasing it to seven. Although much of that can be attributed to the foul trouble Syracuse suffered on the inside.

The Virginia offense came from Mamadi Diakite (6), Jay Huff (6), and Kihei Clark (6) but the Cavaliers squad coughed up nine big turnovers in the first half.

First-half takeaways:

  • Syracuse was red smoking hot offensively (24 points) well at least compared to the first matchup where they only scored 34 points in the entire game.
  • Speaking of the first matchup, Syracuse was outrebounded by 19 on the glass. In the first half, the Orange held strong (22:22).
  • Major foul trouble for the Orange: Bourama Sidibe (3), Quincy Guerrier (3), and Marek Dolezaj (2). This is going to be a major problem as Syracuse gets deeper into conference play because they lack a true inside presence.

Second half

Early in the second half Elijah Hughes kept his double-digit point streak alive to start the 2019-20 campaign. He’s the only member of the Syracuse basketball squad that has reached that mark in each of the first 16 games of the season.

Syracuse continued a nice offensive flow, dictating the game, solid rebounding, but the underlying theme continues to be the foul game: Marek Dolezaj got his fourth and Bourama Sidibe got his fourth just a few minutes into the second half putting the Orange in dire straits.

That quickly led to their large lead evaporating with Virginia getting hot from distance. The Cavaliers re-took the lead 31-30 with 14:08 remaining in the game.

Virginia carried that momentum to a 12-0 run that extended the lead to 35-30 with just over 12 minutes remaining in the second half.

The defensive effort was in question for the Orange, inability to finish, and some poor shot selections contributed to this collapse.

You hate to say anything about officiating but Virginia big man Jay Huff seemingly got away with a whole heck of a lot in this game with his pump fakes, holding the ball forever, and several travels that weren’t called by the referees.

Although when Syracuse looks themselves in the mirror you really scratch your head on Buddy Boeheim. He’s certainly made some special plays this season, but he simply didn’t have it in this one. Buddy couldn’t have hit water if he fell out of a boat.

Strangely despite his inability to find the bottom of the net, Jim, his father kept in the contest in lieu of going to his bench.

Although he finally hit his first triple of the game with under three minutes remaining to give Syracuse the lead 43-41.

Just when it looked like that would be enough to win the game, Virginia fought back to tie the game at 43 and regulation wasn’t enough for these two ACC squads.

Elijah Hughes hit a big three to give the team the lead in overtime, 46-45, then it was followed up by a long-range shot from JG3, then Buddy Boeheim hit a big-time perimeter look to give Syracuse the 52-45 edge.

The difference seemed to be Syracuse players WANTED to take the shot and Virginia’s squad looked nervous during the moment.

You have to give a lot of credit to Buddy Boeheim who struggled mightily in this game but stepped up when the team needed him most to help deliver the biggest win of this young season for the Orange.

After scoring 19 points in the second half, Syracuse scored more in the five minute overtime period (20). Ultimately the Orange handed Virginia its second straight defeat this season.

Next: Syracuse Basketball: Top 30 Players in School History

Up next the Syracuse basketball squad will return home to play the Boston College Eagles on Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. That’ll be the last home game for the Orange until January 25 later this month.