Instant Juice: Syracuse 46, Georgia Tech 45

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Christmas led Syracuse to a win

A quick take on Syracuse’s 46-45 win against Georgia Tech on Wednesday evening:

WHAT HAPPENED: Down 45-44 with 25 seconds left, the Orange went inside to their senior leading scorer, Rakeem Christmas. The big man didn’t disappoint, drawing a foul and hitting both free throws to give SU a one-point lead with 12.4 seconds left. On the Yellow Jacket’s final possession, Chris Bolden missed a 3-pointer from the top of the key with four seconds left, and Quinton Stephens missed the put back as time expired.

» Related: How does Syracuse compare to ACC opponents

ANALYSIS: This game certainly didn’t win any style points. Both teams struggled heavily on offense with Georgia Tech shooting 26 percent from the field, and SU shooting a comparatively balmy 34 percent. The difference for the Yellow Jackets was on the boards, where they owned a decided 43-33 advantage and added 19 offensive rebounds, which made up for its poor shooting from the field. But the Yellow Jackets couldn’t overcome another horrid shooting night from beyond the arc. The ACC’s worst outside shooting team went 3-17 (17.6 percent) and curiously continued to launch from the outside despite their struggles.

HERO: Though Christmas was an uncharacteristic 7-17 from the field, he led the Orange with 18 points and 8 rebounds, the final two points proving to be the game winner. His counterpart, Charles Mitchell, had an equally effective night inside, with 17 points and 11 rebounds, though the Orange stymied him down the stretch with constant double-teams. Michael Gbinije chipped in 14 points and 10 rebounds.

ZERO: Without Mitchell in the lineup, Georgia Tech was just 10-47 from the field. Bolden was among the biggest culprits of Tech’s futility from downtown, going 1-6. As for Syracuse, Chris McCullough struggled through another night, finishing with 3 points on 1-7 shooting.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Orange return home on Sunday, Jan. 11 at 8 p.m. to play Florida State. TV: ESPNU.

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Wes Cheng

About Wes Cheng

Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.
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