North Carolina, dominating glass, dispatches Syracuse

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Syracuse couldn’t keep up with North Carolina

On Monday night, Syracuse simply just did not have enough, as they were outclassed at #9 North Carolina, dropping an 85-68 contest. The Orange (11-8, 3-3 ACC) were just waxed on the glass, getting outrebounded 44-24, including giving up 18 offensive rebounds to the Tar Heels (17-3, 5-1). UNC converted all of those boards into 20 points, part of their 46-20 advantage in points in the paint.

SU got abused inside often, permitting Carolina to make 63.6 percent of their shots inside the arc. The Orange shot well from deep, connecting on just under 42 percent of their three-pointers, but it was not enough, as North Carolina buried them inside.

Taurean Thompson’s face-up jumper got Syracuse on the board first, but the Heels ruined any good vibes by hanging the next dozen points of the game for a double-figure lead just over five minutes into the action. The Orange did not roll over, however, striking back with a 12-4 run.

Tyler Roberson was the driving force of that streak, as he started things off with a pair of putbacks around a dunk off a pretty Tyler Lydon pass for six straight SU points. Following a UNC score, Tyus Battle hit from three-point range, then Lydon followed another Tar Heel basket by swishing a deep three from the left wing in transition. The latter triple brought SU within 16-14 just after the middle of the opening half.

The Orange hung around for the next several minutes, but North Carolina used a 9-3 run to push their lead out to nine points at 33-24. Battle sliced four points off that gap with a jumper and a pair of free throws on consecutive possessions, but UNC closed the half with a 9-2 run for a 42-30 lead at halftime.

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Carolina pushed that lead out to 15 points after getting a triple on their first trip of the second half, but SU ripped off a dozen straight points to vault back into the game.

Lydon drained a three to start the streak, then Thompson got a lay-up in transition. Battle sandwiched a three-pointer by Andrew White III by scoring twice in the paint, the latter bringing the Orange within 45-42 less than four minutes into the half.

North Carolina responded with a 12-4 run, reinstating their double-digit lead at 57-46 with just over seven minutes off the clock. A few minutes later, another White III trey and jump shot from Lydon drew SU within seven points, but that was as close as they would get.

In the game’s final five minutes, the Tar Heels put away Syracuse with a 13-4 run that boosted their lead to 17 points with under a minute to play, sending both coaches to the end of their respective benches for substitutes.

Tyler Lydon was a force for the Orange, connecting on 11-of-14 shots as he piled up a game-high 26 points. Andrew White III connected five times from deep for his 15 points and Tyus Battle added 13 points.

Isaiah Hicks paced the Tar Heels with 20 points. Justin Jackson and Kennedy Meeks each hung a double-double, as Jackson logged 19 points and ten rebounds while Meeks finished the night with 15 points and a dozen rebounds. Joel Berry II was the fourth UNC player to crack double digits in scoring, posting ten points.

SU looks to regroup before visiting #15 Notre Dame on Saturday. The Fighting Irish (16-2, 5-0), who stand atop the conference, will face #18 Florida State on the road before welcoming the Orange.

Notre Dame has a remarkably balanced attack, featuring four players averaging between 13.9 and 15.8 points per game. The Irish are also an excellent perimeter-shooting team, as they have collectively made 39.5 percent of their three-point attempts on the season and three players have made at least 35 triples on the season.

The action will get away at 12:00pm Eastern and be televised by ESPN, as well as streamed online at ESPN3.com.

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Jim Stechschulte

About Jim Stechschulte

A 1996 graduate of Syracuse University, Jim has reported on Syracuse sports for the Syracuse University Alumni Club of Southern California on nearly a decade, where he currently resides. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by NBA.com. Follow him on Twitter @DSafetyGuy.
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