Just as they did in the first matchup between the two teams, Pittsburgh used a late second half run to blow open a close game and defeat Syracuse, this time winning at the Carrier Dome, 66-52. This time, with under seven minutes remaining, the Panthers (19-7, 8-6 ACC) put together a 14-3 run to blow open a tie game and send the Orange (18-10, 8-7) to their second straight loss.
SU did not do a whole lot of great things in the first 33 minutes of the game before they got put away, either. Syracuse got pounded on the glass, 43-23, and they shot 37.3 percent for the game. Making that offensive number worse was that the Orange made four-of-five threes to start the game, but finished 7-for-26 (26.9 percent) behind the arc on the day.
SU started the game well, as they forced Pitt into missing ten of their first 11 shots. They also had things going well on offense, too, as evidenced by Michael Gbinije swishing a three-pointer late in the shot clock on their opening possession.
After a free throw, Trevor Cooney struck from three, as well, swishing one off a curl to make it 7-2. DaJuan Coleman dunked off a nice pass from Malachi Richardson, then added a free throw out of the first media time out for a 10-2 Syracuse lead with just over four minutes elapsed.
The Panthers came back, though, whittling the margin down to three points in the next three-and-a-half minutes. Tyler Lydon, however, answered for the Orange by scoring the squad’s next seven points. Lydon started his streak with a three. After Pittsburgh matched that three, Lydon got free underneath for a dunk, then added another bucket late in the shot clock for a 20-13 Orange lead.
Pitt responded by allowing SU one basket in the next eight minutes. The Panthers scored ten straight points before that Syracuse score to take the lead at 23-20. Following that Orange score, Pitt added seven more points to make it 30-22 in their favor.
Lydon responded with more strong shooting from the perimeter, knocking down a pair of treys, the latter with less than three seconds remaining in the half, to draw SU within 30-28 at the break.
The visitors scored the first two baskets out of the break to stretch the lead to a half dozen, but Syracuse responded by chipping away at the lead, getting it down to a single point just over five minutes into the half. The Panthers replied with a three and another basket to reinstate their six-point lead.
The Orange struck back with seven straight points to take the lead. Lydon dunked to start the burst, then Richardson dropped in a lay-up. After three-and-a-half scoreless minutes, Lydon buried a three that drove the Carrier Dome crowd into a frenzy and put SU on top, 43-42.
Pittsburgh got a three-point play to take the lead, but Frank Howard set up Coleman for a slam dunk that knotted the score at 45 a side with 7:15 remaining.
For nearly six minutes after that, Syracuse could not score from the field, mustering only three free throws. In the meantime, the Panthers rolled up 14 points for the first double-digit lead of the day.
When Gbinije finally dropped in a lay-up, he cut the margin to 59-50 with just over 90 seconds to go. Nine points would be the closest the Orange would get, eventually giving up two scores in the final minute, including a late three, to fall by 14.
Tyler Lydon finished with 21 points to lead the Orange, shooting 8-of-12 from the field and 4-of-8 from three-point range to get there. Michael Gbinije was the only other double figure scorer for SU, finishing with ten points. DaJuan Coleman had eight points and eight boards.
Jamel Artis topped Pitt with 21 points and also grabbed 11 rebounds. James Robinson had 13 points while Michael Young had eight points and a game-high 13 rebounds for the Panthers.
Syracuse will have their second straight Saturday 2:00pm game next week when North Carolina State comes to the Carrier Dome for the home finale for the Orange. The Wolfpack (14-13, 4-10) have struggled on the season, but have defeated Pittsburgh and then-#15 Miami, as well as beating Clemson on Saturday.
Guard Anthony “Cat” Barber, who leads the ACC with 23.1 points per game and 38.4 minutes per contest, is the top threat for NC State. Barber is not their lone strong performer, though, as three other players average between ten and 13 points for the ‘Pack.
The ACC Network will televise the contest, which will also be available online at espn3.com and through the ESPN app.