A quick take on Syracuse’s 69-59 win over Boston College in the team’s first matchup as conference opponents since 2005:
WHAT HAPPENED: Boston College flirted with a monumental upset of the No. 2 team in the country, claiming a 47-39 lead with 13:43 left. The Eagles took the lead behind torrid shooting from downtown, burying eight 3-pointers to that point. But the Orange defense clamped down, and BC suddenly went cold from distance, missing all of its attempts from long range in the final 10 minutes. Simultaneously, Syracuse’s offense found its rhythm to go on a 15-0 run to propel them to a 60-51 lead with just over six minutes left. That would be enough to take control, and SU escaped Boston with a win to improve to 17-0, which is the third time in the last four years that the Orange have accomplished that.
ANALYSIS: There will be nights when Syracuse’s top guns aren’t playing well. And tonight was one of those nights. Tyler Ennis and CJ Fair finished with 12 points apiece, but shot a collective 8 of 24 from the floor. Still, like any good team, the Orange found a way to win. Despite giving up some early good looks from the perimeter, Syracuse’s zone came through when needed, generating 18 turnovers, with Ennis leading the way with six steals. Boston College shot well for roughly the first 30 minutes, but finally regressed to the mean when SU made its run. It didn’t hurt that Boston College struggled from the charity stripe, hitting just 16 of 26.
HERO: Trevor Cooney, who, as announcers will tell you, is known more as a 3-point shooter, made a concerted effort to get inside. He took more shots from inside the arc (8) than from 3-point land (5) and added three breakaway dunks to lead the Orange with 21 points. Jerami Grant chipped in with 16 points and 8 rebounds off the bench, highlighted by a couple of rim-rattling dunks. For BC, one game after a season-high 17 points, Lonnie Jackson poured in 18 points on six 3-pointers.
ZERO: “Trevor” is not a particularly difficult name to remember or pronounce, yet announcers have had all sorts of problems with it in SU’s first season in the ACC. Announcers Mike Patrick and LaPhonso Ellis managed to botch the name, calling him ‘Tyler’ and ‘Gerry,’ a week after he was called ‘Terry.’ As for the real Gerry, as in Gerry McNamara, Ellis called him ‘Joey’ at one point in the second half. A quick review of Brent Axe’s basketball guide for ACC announcers would not go amiss.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse hosts No. 22 Pitt on Saturday, Jan. 18 at 4 p.m. TV: ESPN/ESPN2. In other ACC action on Wednesday, Virginia Tech is a 3 point favorite over Clemson if you’re looking for Sportsbook Odds for the NCAA Basketball games.