Everything that #14 Syracuse was in the Bahamas last week, they were not in their return to the Carrier Dome. The Orange, who shot over 46 percent from three and outrebounded their opponents by four in the Battle 4 Atlantis, went 7-for-24 (29.2 percent) from three and got crushed on the glass by Wisconsin, 51-25, en route to a 66-58 overtime loss in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Badgers completely owned their backboard, gathering 35 of a possible 41 rebounds at that end of the floor.
With that disadvantage on the glass, it was quite unlikely that SU even forced the contest to overtime, but they were finished off by a stretch of nearly eight minutes, including most of that overtime session, without a field goal. Their saving grace was forcing 20 Badger miscues on the night. The loss dropped Syracuse to 6-1 on the season, while Wisconsin got a marquee win to bump their record to 5-3.
Malachi Richardson opened the game on a high note, barely edging the shot clock with a banked in three off a broken possession. Wisconsin replied with the next five points, but the Orange posted the next seven markers of the game.
Trevor Cooney dropped in a pair from the foul line to knot the score, then Michael Gbinije and Tyler Lydon combined for the rest of the run. First, Lydon corralled an offensive rebound and kicked the ball out to Gbinije, who buried a three. Gbinije returned the favor on the next possession, feeding Lydon for a fast break alley-oop that gave SU a 10-5 lead with five-and-a-half minutes elapsed.
The Badgers retaliated, tying the score, then both teams alternated a pair of baskets. Wisconsin then grabbed the lead by holding the Orange scoreless for over four minutes. In that time, the visitors tacked on seven points to grab a 21-14 lead with 6:31 left in the opening half.
Kaleb Joseph came off the bench to provide some offensive punch, getting a three-point play to make it a four-point game, but Wisconsin scored the next four points for a 25-17 lead. After another basket for each side, Joseph added three more in the reverse order, making a free throw, then hitting a jumper. Gbinije then converted a steal into a fast break lay-in shortly before halftime to draw SU within 27-24 at the break.
The Badgers held Syracuse at bay for the first couple minutes of the first half, but the Orange then strung together a 14-3 run to take the lead. Richardson scored the first three points with a jumper, then the back end of a pair at the line. Lydon then posted up for a jump-hook on the next trip to tie the game at 32 a side.
A Wisconsin free throw put them back in front, but SU responded with a flurry on long-range bombs. Cooney got a very generous bounce for a three for a two-point lead. The Badgers quickly erased that gap, but Gbinije splashed one from deep, then stole the pass for a possession that ended with Cooney burying another triple. The outburst gave Syracuse a 41-35 lead, brought the crowd to their feet, and forced a Wisconsin time out.
The Badgers methodically crawled back into the game, chipping away at the margin and eventually knotting the score at 45 a side with just over six minutes on the clock. Gbinije responded with a long two off a screen for the lead. A Wisconsin three put them back on top, but Richardson scored with a drive where he hung in the air before releasing. Gbinije knocked down a three on the next Orange possession and the guests again called time, this time trailing, 52-48, with just over three minutes left.
Wisconsin again scrapped back, eventually tying the game at 53 a side with 1:25 to play. Cooney had two chances to take the lead, but missed a fadeaway jumper on the first and his pass slipped through Lydon’s hands on the second. The Badgers had their own shot to win in regulation, but a jumper was short, sending the game to an extra session.
Gbinije and Cooney each went 1-of-2 at the stripe to start overtime and give the Orange a 55-53 lead. That would be it for the Syracuse offense for almost four-and-a-half minutes, though, as Wisconsin scored the next nine points of the game. Gbinije made a three-pointer to stop the run with 21 seconds to go, but it was too little, too late. The Badgers would tack on four more foul shots before leaving with the win.
Michael Gbinije led all scorers in the game with 19 points, scoring 12 after halftime. Gbinije hit four three-pointers in the game and also came up with five steals. Trevor Cooney was the only other SU player in double figures, finishing with 14 points in spite of a 3-for-10 shooting performance, also scoring a dozen in the second half. Malachi Richardson also had an off shooting night, scoring eight points on 3-of-11 from the floor, and Tyler Roberson had three blocks to complement his seven points.
Ethan Happ and Nigel Hayes both posted dominating double-doubles for for the Badgers. Happ had 18 points and 15 rebounds while Hayes had 15 points and a dozen boards. Between the two, they outrebounded the entire Syracuse team. Vitto Brown chipped in 14 points for Wisconsin and Bronson Koenig added 12.
Syracuse will meet a familiar foe on Saturday when they hit the road to face Georgetown. The Hoyas (3-3) dropped three of their first four games by a total of eight points, including losses to a pair of top-five teams (#3 Maryland, #5 Duke), but have won their last two games. Four different players average double digits for Georgetown, led by D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, who posts 15.7 points per game
The rivalry will be renewed at 1:00pm Eastern on FOX.
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