WHAT HAPPENED: Tied at 55 with 1:25 left, Michael Gbinije collected a loose ball and took it coast-to-coast, drawing a foul on his layup attempt. He calmly hit two free throws to give Syracuse its first lead since 11:26 in the second half. Tadric Jackson had a chance to tie the game with a pair of free throws with six seconds left with the Orange leading 58-56. But after making the first, Jackson missed the second, and Malachi Richardson hit two free throws to send the Orange to the win.
ANALYSIS: Syracuse, looking flat after having played less than 48 hours ago, avoided what would’ve been a damaging loss to its NCAA resume with Georgia Tech ranked 62nd in the RPI. But the Orange, trailing for most of the second half, forced two key turnovers in the game’s final 90 seconds to pull ahead. Georgia Tech was able to dominate the paint, with 6-8, 262 pound Nick Jacobs and 6-10, 231 pound Ben Lammers each in double figures. That helped the Yellow Jackets to a +6 rebounding margin. But SU held the Yellow Jackets to 38.2 percent shooting field from the field and 5-17 from downtown.
HERO: Frank Howard, now firmly established in Syracuse’s rotation as the backup point guard, had his best game of the season, with six assists and zero turnovers. Richardson and Gbinije scored SU’s final seven points, and combined for 29 on the day.
ZERO: Trevor Cooney, fresh off one of his best performances of the season against Notre Dame was just 3-12 from the field. SU was a collective 12-21 at the free throw line.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse plays the penultimate game of its homestand on Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 8:00 p.m. against Virginia Tech. TV: ACC Network.
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