A quick take on Syracuse’s 72-70 win against Virginia Tech on Tuesday evening:
WHAT HAPPENED: Down 13 points with 6:33 left, the Orange went on a late 8-0 run, and Michael Gbinije’s basket with 0.1 seconds left lifted Syracuse to an improbable win. SU made a late surge thanks to an effective full-court trapping press, which forced the Hokies into six turnovers in the final four minutes of the game. The penultimate turnover led to Gbinije getting sent to the free throw line with 19 seconds left. Gbinije, just a 48 percent free throw shooter drained both to tie the game. After the Hokies turned it over again, Gbinije got into the lane and hit a spinning floater to save the Orange from a potentially embarrassing home loss.
ANALYSIS: The Orange kept its faint NCAA hopes alive after it appeared that they were headed to a disappointing loss. If the season were to end today, the Orange would still be on the outside of the tournament bubble looking in. But there are plenty of opportunities for SU to make up ground. The second half of SU’s ACC schedule includes games against Duke, Louisville and Notre Dame, the cream of the conference. March Madness is still a flicker of hope after an improbable comeback. SU allowed itself to get in a double-digit hole with porous outside defense. The Hokies were 9-18 from downtown and shot 42 percent overall for the game. The smaller Hokies also tied the Orange on the boards, 40-40.
HERO: A relatively obscure player having a career night from outside against Syracuse? You don’t say. Tonight’s “Konstantinos Mitoglou” award went to Jalen Hudson, whose 18 points easily eclipsed his season average of 5.7 points per game. For Syracuse, the hero was obvious: Gbinije scored 18 points, and he saved his final four points for the most critical part of the game. He also chipped in seven assists and four steals.
ZERO: Trevor Cooney has played every single minute of the last three games, and perhaps it showed against the Hokies. Though he finished tied for a team-high 18 points, he went 2-12 from downtown.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse will travel to Pitt to play the Panthers on Saturday, Feb. 7 at 4 p.m. TV: ESPN2.
- Notre Dame Fighting Irish — 2016 Syracuse football scouting report - September 30, 2016
- Recruiting Roundup: Syracuse begins recruitment of Billy Preston - September 30, 2016
- Syracuse 31, Connecticut 24 — What we learned - September 26, 2016
- Recruiting Roundup: 2017 defensive end Jonathan Kingsley commits to Syracuse - September 26, 2016
- Connecticut Huskies — 2016 Syracuse football scouting report - September 23, 2016
- Even Syracuse football’s best coaches needed time - September 22, 2016
- Recruiting Roundup: Syracuse makes Mohamed Bamba’s final seven - September 22, 2016
- Recruiting Roundup: Syracuse coach Gerry McNamara visits Hamidou Diallo - September 20, 2016
- Recruiting Roundup: Syracuse offers 2018 QB Devin Leary - September 19, 2016
- Instant Juice: Syracuse 20, South Florida 45 - September 17, 2016