With little snow on the ground, Syracuse provided an avalanche of three-pointers in the first half, burying Pittsburgh at the Carrier Dome by a deceptive 77-66 final score. The Orange (10-6, 2-1 ACC) hit 8-of-11 three-point field goals in a ten-minute span in the first half, providing the offense in a 30-2 run. SU’s defense was stifling at the same time, holding the Panthers (12-4, 1-2) to 1-of-13 shooting from the field with five turnovers in that same span.
The Syracuse offense was clicking for almost all of the game, hitting over 50 percent of their shots both inside and outside of the arc, as they made 14-of-27 shots in both areas. Their defense held Pitt to 35 percent shooting in the game, including under 21 percent in the first half, highlighted by the Panthers missing all seven of their threes in the opening session.
The two squads traded markers in the game’s opening four minutes, but then the Orange made their move. Tyus Battle and John Gillon each hit a three-pointer, followed by Tyler Lydon getting a contested jump hook to fall for an 8-0 burst that took under 90 seconds. Pittsburgh got a bucket to make it a six-point game, a game that SU quickly ended, as their next point allowed would not come for over eight-and-a-half minutes.
Syracuse was also busy scoring 22 straight points. The domination was started by Andrew White III draining a pair of triples to force a Panther timeout. When the game resumed, Battle swished a pair of threes around a White III lay-in. Tyler Lydon buried a three-pointer, then fed Gillon for another deep bomb. Battle finished the onslaught with a contested fast break lay-up that gave the Orange a 36-8 stranglehold with 5:27 left in the first half.
Pitt fought back, shaving seven points off the margin, which stood at 42-21 at halftime.
In the early moments of the second half, the Panthers got a pair of three-pointers to chop the lead down to 15 points, but Gillon stuck a three from the left corner and White III got free for one from the top of the key, reinstating the 21-point lead at 50-29.
After the guests notched a couple buckets, SU ran up seven straight points. Lydon started the run with a banked jump hook. Gillon followed that with a friendly bounce on a three-pointer. Lydon then zipped a pass across the key to a cutting Tyler Roberson for a lay-up and a 57-33 Syracuse lead just over six minutes into the second half.
Pittsburgh clipped the lead to 19 points at the midpoint of the session, but White III bounced the gap back out to two dozen, connecting on a three and a stepback jumper from the right wing on consecutive possessions for the Orange.
SU was able to coast from there, maintaining a 22-point lead with under six minutes to play. The game no longer in doubt, the Panthers closed out the contest by outscoring Syracuse in the game’s final five-and-a-half minutes by an 18-7 margin.
For the third straight outing, Andrew White III paced the Orange, this time collecting 21 points, including hitting four triples. Fellow graduate transfer John Gillon rang up an impressive 20-point, 11-assist double-double, burying six three-pointers along the way. Tyus Battle knocked in three treys in the first half en route to 15 points while grabbing three steals. Tyler Lydon chipped in with 13 points while Tyler Roberson was an energetic force with ten rebounds and personal-best six blocked shots in the game.
Jamel Artis led all players with 23 points in the game. Michael Young added 17 points for Pitt. Both players did most of their work in the second half, as Artis had 19 points after the break and Young had 15. Sheldon Jeter did a little of everything, filling out the score sheet with 12 points, 11 rebounds, three steals, and three blocks.
Syracuse is now faced with sustaining their effort on a Tuesday night road trip to #21 Virginia Tech. Since their conference-opening upset at home of then-#5 Duke, the Hokies (12-3, 1-2) have had a rough start to ACC play, dropping double-digit decisions at North Carolina State and #12 Florida State in their last two outings.
Five different players average double figures in scoring for Virginia Tech, led by Zach LeDay and Ahmed Hill, who combine for over 31 points per game. As a group, VT is an effective outside shooting bunch, hovering just under 40 percent from three-point range on the season on nearly 25 attempts per game.
Tuesday night’s action gets underway at 7:00pm Eastern and the game will be televised by ESPNU, as well as streamed online at ESPN3.com.