A quick take on Syracuse’s 63-61 win against West Virginia:
WHAT HAPPENED: Kevin Jones missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer as time expired, as Syracuse held on for a sloppy win. The play happened after Baye Moussa Keita appeared to get away with goaltending on a Deniz Kilicli putback that would’ve tied the game with 6.2 seconds left. Instead, the Orange held on for its second straight win. Syracuse won despite ice cold shooting from downtown. SU was just 4-for-20 from beyond the arc, including James Southerland missing all four of his shots. SU’s big men were also in foul trouble throughout the entire afternoon. Keita played the final minutes with four fouls, while Rakeem Christmas fouled out. Still, SU was able to win because of its defense, which forced 17 turnovers en route to 22 points.
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ANALYSIS: The Orange dearly missed Fab Melo in this game, as the Mountaineers dominated SU on the glass, 41-20. West Virginia was particularly potent on the offensive glass, with 19 rebounds leading to 13 points. The close game also afforded an opportunity to get a glimpse into Syracuse’s go-to player down the stretch since so few games for the Orange have gone down to the wire this season. SU coach Jim Boeheim elected to go with sophomore guard Dion Waiters, who had the ball in his hands with the Orange up two points with 33 seconds left. Waiters took a screen and drove left for a running shot that he missed. It was a interesting decision, given Waiters recent struggles and better games offensively for Kris Joseph and Brandon Triche.
HERO: Triche led Syracuse with 18 points while Joseph chipped in 13. Kevin Jones had 20 points and eight rebounds for the Mountaineers.
ZERO: Kilicli had just five points on 2-for-10 shooting from the field, and was 1-for-5 from the free throw line. Dion Waiters was ineffective again, with eight points on 2-for-9 shooting.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse will head to New York City to play St. John’s on Sat., Feb 4 at 12:00 p.m. TV: ESPN.