Monday night, Syracuse continued to resuscitate their NCAA Tournament hopes by holding on for a 64-62 win at #20 Duke. The Orange have made it three straight wins to get back to 3-4 in ACC play and 13-7 overall while the Blue Devils have now lost three straight games for the first time since 2007 as they fall to 14-5 on the season and 3-3 in conference.
Neither team shot particularly well in the contest, save for SU’s performance behind the arc. Both squads shot under 38 percent in the game, but Syracuse made 11-of-23 shots (47.8 percent) from three-point range, nearly doubling Duke’s 27.0 percent accuracy mark.
The Orange once again won the battle on the glass, securing a 49-42 advantage on the boards. Even more impressive was their 26 offensive rebounds, grabbing 52 percent of all caroms on that end of the floor.
SU opened the game with the first five points as the Blue Devils simply could not get anything going, missing their first eight shots of the night. Malachi Richardson drained a three to start the Syracuse offense and Tyler Roberson scored on a nifty flip for a 5-0 lead.
Duke responded with 13 of the next 17 points in the game to grab a 13-9 lead just before the midpoint of the opening half. The Devils would extend their lead to five points shortly after that, but the Orange responded with a 10-2 run to take the lead.
Tyler Lydon started the streak by popping out for a three, then made a steal and outlet pass to Michael Gbinije, who went coast-to-coast for a lay-in that knotted the game. After a Duke bucket, neither team scored for a couple minutes, but SU closed the run when Roberson scored off an offensive rebound and Trevor Cooney connected on a three for a 21-18 lead with just over four minutes left in the first half.
Syracuse held their three-point lead for a couple possessions, but Duke rolled up nine straight points to regain control late in the half. Cooney buried a long straightaway three in the late seconds of the half, drawing the Orange within 29-26. That gap survived a buzzer-beating three by the Blue Devils, which was ruled to have been after the horn on review.
Richardson and Gbinije combined to knot the score in the opening minutes of the second half. Roberson sliced across the lane for a lay-in, then Gbinije struck from deep to knot the score at 33 a side. Duke responded with an 8-2 run to retake control.
Richardson responded by being the driving force in eight straight SU points. First, the freshman got a friendly bounce on a pull-up jumper, then got a steal that eventually ended up in the hands of Cooney in transition. Cooney wasted no time in drilling a three pointer. Richardson then stepped into a triple of his own for a 43-41 Syracuse lead and a Blue Devil time out.
The two teams traded scores for a few minutes, but the Orange put consecutive treys on the board to go up five with just over seven minutes to go. Richardson was first, knocking down a bomb from the left corner. The next trip down, Roberson slung a pass to Cooney on the left wing while falling down and Cooney cashed it in for a 53-48 Orange lead.
After a Duke three, Lydon answered with one of his own, then Gbinije added another. The back-to-back threes boosted SU to a 59-51 lead with under 5:30 remaining.
The Blue Devils whittled away at the margin, getting within three with just over two minutes left, then later scoring on consecutive possessions to get within 63-62 with 34 seconds left. Duke then fouled on the inbounds pass, sending Gbinije to the line.
Gbinije missed the front end of a one-and-one and the Blue Devils rebounded. The Orange opted to foul multiple times to shorten the game and force Duke to change their strategy.
Duke ended up with a close look at the basket, but the shot missed. Richardson chased down the loose ball rebound and was fouled. The freshman then made the first foul shot, but missed the second. Out of timeouts, Duke was forced to try a heave at the basket, but the ball was knocked free in a crown of Syracuse defenders, securing the win for SU.
Four different players posted 14 points in the game for the Orange. Tyler Roberson was one of them, but he also grabbed 20 rebounds, including a dozen on the offensive glass. Roberson set a Cameron Indoor Stadium record for total rebounds by an opponent and the 12 offensive boards tied Billy Owens for the Syracuse record for a single game.
Trevor Cooney, Michael Gbinije, and Malachi Richardson also each rang up 14 points. Cooney knocked down four three-pointers, Gbinije had ten points after halftime and handed out nine assists while Richardson had a trio of triples and scored 11 of his points after the break. Tyler Lydon chipped in with eight points and nine rebounds.
Marshall Plumlee was as big of a threat for Duke as Roberson was for SU, hanging a 19-point, 17-rebound double-double. Grayson Allen had 18 points for the Blue Devils and Brandon Ingram also had a double-double of 13 points and 11 boards.
Syracuse will close out this road trip with a weekend visit at #13 Virginia. The Cavaliers (13-4, 2-3) will host Clemson on Tuesday before the Orange come calling. Virginia will enter the Clemson game with losses in three of their last four outings.
Malcolm Brogdon is the top offensive threat for the Cavs, averaging 16.6 points per game. Point guard London Perrantes is a superb perimeter threat, making 56.5 percent of his three-pointers on the season.
The action will get underway at noon Eastern on Saturday. ESPN will once again televise the game, which can also be seen online at espn3.com and through the WatchESPN app.