Third-seeded Syracuse will take on No. 2 seed Duke in the ACC Tournament semifinals. Here is a look at the game:
IN SYRACUSE’S LAST GAME: The Orange claimed the Kraus-Simmons Trophy for the 26th time in the 29 games with a convincing 15-9 win over Hobart. Still, Syracuse had to use a second-half rally to get there. Down 8-7 with 1:53 left in the third quarter, the Orange scored five unanswered goals to take a 12-8 lead with 9:22 left in the fourth quarter, and tacked on three late goals. Randy Staats and Kevin Rice carried SU’s offense early on, combining for its first eight goals. The Orange defense also began to assert itself after a shaky start, holding Hobart to just three goals in the final 35 minutes, while forcing nine turnovers.
IN DUKE’S LAST GAME: Duke routed Rutgers 17-8 on Saturday behind another sterling performance from attackman Jordan Wolf. The senior attackman scored twice within the first minute to help the Blue Devils to a 6-2 lead after one period, and a 10-4 lead at halftime. After Rutgers pulled to within four in the third period, the Blue Devils reeled off six unanswered goals. Wolf finished with six goals and two assists as Duke won its eighth straight game to improve to 12-2 on the season.
SCOUTING THE BLUE DEVILS: Syracuse’s 21-7 drubbing at Durham on March 23 turned out to be the catalyst for the Orange’s revival this season. Since that disastrous loss, the Orange have reeled off five straight wins, including victories against Cornell, Notre Dame and North Carolina, all teams that will be heading to the NCAA Tournament. But Duke presents a different kind of challenge for Syracuse. Faceoff specialist Brendan Fowler abused anyone SU coach John Desko threw his way in March, winning 24-of-31 at the X. Chris Daddio has been significantly better since then, but Fowler has won 61.1 percent (207-339) of his faceoffs this season, after setting an NCAA record for faceoff wins (339) in 2013. Wolf, who notched eight points on five goals and three assists against SU, leads the ACC in goals (46) and points (67).
HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: Syracuse holds a slim 6-5 advantage in the all-time series, though Duke has won the last four matchups, including in the NCAA Tournament in 2012 and 2013.
GAME INFORMATION: Friday, April 25, 2014 at 5 p.m. in Chester, Pa. TV: ESPNU.
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