A quick take on Syracuse’s 69-58 win against Virginia Tech:
WHAT HAPPENED: With the game tied at 42 with 12:13 left in the game, Dion Waiters drove and found CJ Fair wide open for a slam that gave SU its first lead of the game. It was part of a 17-3 run, with Waiters leading the way. He scored nine straight points during that stretch, capping it with a jumper to put SU ahead 56-45 with 8:17 left. The Hokies never came closer than five points the rest of the way. It made up for an otherwise forgettable game for Syracuse. The Orange started ice cold from the field, hitting just five of its first 16 shots. Meanwhile, the Hokies hit five of their first six, and led 18-11 with 9:52 in the opening half after Cararian hit a layup plus a free throw.
ANALYSIS: It was another brilliant game for Waiters, who came in leading Syracuse in scoring with 13.8 points a game. He finished with 11 points and four assists. But Waiters didn’t catch fire until the second half, and it was Kris Joseph who single-handedly kept Syracuse in the game with 12 of his 20 points (he also added 10 rebounds) in the first half. SU coach Jim Boeheim shortened his rotation significantly despite playing 10 players. He gave minimal playing time to Rakeem Christmas, James Southerland and Michael Carter-Williams. Scoop Jardine was absent for most of the second half, as well, including the pivotal run where he watched his cousin, Waiters, take over the game.
HERO: Fair started the second half in place of Christmas and finished with 12 points and eight rebounds. Fab Melo continued his rapid improvement, dominating the paint from the defensive end with five blocks and four rebounds. He also showed a baby hook reminiscent of Arinze Onuaku for two of his six points. For Virginia Tech, Erick Green hit four 3-pointers and finished with 14 points while Jarell Eddie led the Hokies with 17.
ZERO: Jardine’s final stat line: Two points. Four assists. 1-for-4 shooting from the field.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Orange will play Stanford, who won the other semifinal game 82-67, on Friday at 5:30 p.m. in the championship game.