On Senior Day at the Carrier Dome, three was a magic number, specifically three-pointers, particularly those made by the player wearing number three. Although he played only one season at Syracuse, Andrew White III put on a display to remember in his final appearance at the Dome, hitting 8-of-9 three-pointers as he exploded for a personal-best 40 points in a 90-61 romp over Georgia Tech on Saturday afternoon.
White III’s display characterized the day for the Orange (18-13, 10-8 ACC), who made 15-of-23 triples and never trailed. The win was a big one for SU, as it got them to 10 wins in conference action, a stat that will look nice on their NCAA Tournament resume. The loss dropped the Yellow Jackets to 17-14 overall and 8-10 in conference action.
The Orange shot well for almost the entire game, making 53.7 percent of their field goals, while holding the Jackets to a relatively modest 43.9 percent success rate. Syracuse’s defense also forced 16 turnovers on the day and turned them into 16 points.
Everything went SU’s way early. Taurean Thompson hit a long jump shot on the game’s opening possession. Tyus Battle followed with a right corner three and Andrew White III added a mid-range fadeaway to give Syracuse a 7-0 lead after three possessions. Battle continued his hot start in the following minutes, hitting a triple from each corner, then Thompson added one of his own from the right side to give the Orange a 16-4 lead and force a Georgia Tech timeout with less than five minutes elapsed.
The SU offense cooled off after the break in the action, as they only got a jumper and a pair of foul shots in the game’s next seven minutes. However, their defense continued to be effective and they held a 20-13 lead with eight minutes left to go in the half.
At that point, Syracuse ran off eight straight points in under 90 seconds to regain a comfortable lead. White III started the streak with a pull-up from inside the right elbow, then Battle added two foul shots and a left baseline drive for two more points. After Tyler Lydon scored inside, the Orange lead was up to 15.
SU kept the guests at bay for a view minutes, actually extending their lead to 16 points on a John Gillon lay-up with 90 seconds left in the opening half, but the Yellow Jackets then made their move.
First, Tech scored twice before the halftime break, trimming the margin to 38-26. Then, the Jackets added a 9-0 run coming out of the locker room to make it 13 straight points, trailing Syracuse 38-35 just over two minutes into the second half.
White III buried a pair of threes to push the lead out to seven, then Battle pushed the ball in transition for a lay-up and a 46-37 lead. The Yellow Jackets fought back, clipping the margin down to five twice, but the Orange then took off.
White III swished a left wing three off a Lydon drive-and-kick, then splashed another three from the right corner. Tyler Roberson tapped home a miss, then White III buried another three from the right side, making it 11 straight SU points for a 60-44 lead.
Georgia Tech answered with a pair of foul shots, but those were barely a blip on the radar as Syracuse responded by piling on ten more points.
The Orange bested Tech’s full-court pressure with a long pass to White III, who calmly drained a left wing three. SU then had a brief parade to the foul line, as Battle hit a pair, the White III dropped in a set of three, then another pair to stretch the lead to 70-46 with just under eight minutes remaining.
The Syracuse lead would reach 29 points on three separate occasions, including when former walk-on senior Doyin Akintobi-Adeyeye put back his own miss for the final points of the contest.
The 40 points rolled up by Andrew White III tied a Carrier Dome record for points scored by a Syracuse player and he tallied 29 points after halftime. Tyus Battle piled up 22 points, connecting on four three-pointers. John Gillon had a double-double in his final Dome appearance, finishing with tem points and ten assists, but also missed a free throw, snapping his school record streak at 48 consecutive free throws made. Tyler Lydon pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds to go with his seven points and three blocks.
Josh Okogie topped Georgia Tech with 16 points while Quinton Stephens chipped in with a dozen. Ben Lammers, who was a driving force in Tech’s earlier win over SU, finished with ten points and a team-high nine rebounds.
The Orange will now travel to Brooklyn for their first contest in the ACC Tournament. SU is the eighth-seed for the tournament and will face ninth-seeded Miami at noon Eastern on Wednesday.
Syracuse claimed the lone regular season match-up with the Hurricanes (20-10, 10-8) in early January, winning at the Carrier Dome, 70-55. The Orange led most of the game, but needed an 18-5 second half run to get enough breathing room to coast to the finish line. Andrew White III had a double-double in the game, finishing with 22 points and ten boards, while Tyler Lydon scored 20 for SU. D.J. Vasiljevic paced Miami with 18 points.
ESPN will televise the game, which will also be online at ESPN3.com.