Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim was shocked when he was told that his team had gone on a 23-0 run in the first half of SU’s 88-72 win over North Carolina State on Saturday night.
“Is that what it was? Wow,” Boeheim said to reporters following the game. “I didn’t even keep track of the numbers.”
It was hard to blame Boeheim because the Orange scored so frequently during that run, which spanned more than six minutes and left SU with a 46-29 lead with 1:55 left before intermission.
It started right after Scott Wood nailed a long jumper to give the Wolfpack a 29-23 lead with 8:16 left.
On the ensuing play, Dion Waiters drove the lane and hit a layup. Waiters scoring would be a frequent theme, as he accounted for 10 of the 23 points.
He finished the run off with a baseline 3-pointer, and the Orange looked like it was headed for an easy night in its first true road game of the season.
But the Wolfpack wasn’t discouraged despite trailing 47-33 going into half.
On its first play of the second half, the Wolfpack diagrammed a play for sharpshooter Scott Wood, who until that point only had two points. Wood calmly buried a 3-pointer.
That started the Wolfpack on a 13-1 run of its own, and by the time CJ Williams hit a jumper with 15:33 left, the game was knotted at 50.
“We knew coming out they were going to make a run,” Jardine said.
But the Orange also knew it was going to respond.
Jardine hit a pair of 3-pointers on an 11-2 spurt that put Syracuse up 74-63 with 6:47 to go. The Wolfpack didn’t have an answer for it after that, and the Orange survived its first game as the No. 1 team in the country.
“The single best thing was that when they made that comeback, players kept their poise,” Boeheim said. “They were really steady. They just kept getting good shots.”