A quick take on Syracuse’s 90-77 win over UNC Greensboro in the opening round of the NIT at the Carrier Dome on Wednesday evening:
WHAT HAPPENED: With Syracuse comfortably ahead by double digits most of the second half, and as much as 81-63 with 5:40 left to go, UNC Greensboro made things interesting late. The Spartans scored 11 unanswered points and pulled to within 81-74 after a steal and a 3-pointer by Diante Baldwin with 2:04 left. But Tyler Lydon calmly restored order with a pair of free throws, and John Gillon followed with two more as the Orange advanced to the second round of the NIT in front of a sparse crowd of 4,288.
ANALYSIS: Despite a large charge from the Spartans, Syracuse was never really threatened after taking charge midway through the first half. The Orange took control with a well controlled offense that shot 55.8 percent from the field for the game, 9-21 from downtown and 23-28 at the free throw line. The Orange also dominated on the class, holding a +8 advantage, though it did commit an unsightly 17 turnovers. The win perhaps had some special meaning for Jim Boeheim, less than a week after he said having the ACC Tournament in Greensboro added ‘zero‘ value.
HERO: With seven 3-pointers, White passed Gerry McNamara for the school record for 3-pointers made in a single season with 109. McNamara previously held the record of 107. White finished with 34 points and six rebounds. Tyus Battle added 20 points.
ZERO: Francis Alonso came into Wednesday’s contest averaging 15. 2 points on 45.9 percent shooting from the field, but slogged through a 1-9 (1-6 from downtown) performance for three points.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse moves on to the second round of the NIT, and will host Ole Miss on Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Carrier Dome.