Unlike in Wednesday’s conference opener at Pittsburgh, Syracuse did not wait until the closing minutes to have their second half collapse. Miami blitzed the Orange with a 24-9 run after halftime to turn an eight-point deficit into a seven-point lead, then added a 12-0 burst to put away a 64-51 home win. The loss was the second straight by SU (10-5) to open ACC play, while the Hurricanes (12-1) opened their conference slate with a win.
In all, Syracuse was outscored after intermission by a 47-26 margin. They undid a lot of strong work in the opening half by permitting the ‘Canes to make half of their shots from the floor. This came on the heels of the limiting the hosts to make a mere 19.2 percent success rate on their shots from the field.
The Orange also committed an uncharacteristic 11 turnovers in the second half (and 19 overall) after averaging 11.5 miscues a game on the season coming into the contest. Miami converted those mistakes into 20 points. A dozen of those SU turnovers were Hurricane steals and the hosts used those to hold a 20-2 advantage in fast break points, as well.
The game started off well for Syracuse, as they held Miami without a score for nearly three-and-a-half minutes and grabbed a 5-0 lead. The Orange, however, then went scoreless for over four minutes while the Hurricanes tacked up nine points to build a four-point lead with just over seven minutes elapsed.
SU, however, dominated the next eight minutes of action by racking up 15 straight points. Tyler Lydon opened up the stretch with a three-pointer. Michael Gbinije followed that with a jam that put Syracuse back on top, 10-9.
Malachi Richardson got into the action, first by drilling a three of his own, then setting up Tyler Roberson for a lay-up while being fouled. Roberson finished the three-point play to make it 11 straight points for the Orange. Gbinije added a foul shot of his own, then Richardson drained another deep ball for a 20-9 SU lead with just under seven minutes left in the opening half.
Miami got a pair of free throws to snap the Syracuse run, but Trevor Cooney tacked on a three to extend the Orange lead to a dozen points. Miami rallied with six points in just over a minute to halve the gap, but Richardson stopped that burst with a jumper that nudged the SU lead to 25-17 at halftime.
After a DaJuan Coleman jam pushed the Syracuse lead to nine points just over a minute after halftime, the roof came crashing down. The Hurricanes ran off eight consecutive points to shave the Orange lead to 27-26. Cooney knocked down a jump shot to make it a three-point game, but Miami added four more points to take a one-point lead.
A Richardson triple put SU back in top, but the ‘Canes blitzed the Orange with eight points in under 40 seconds to take a 38-32 lead just under nine minutes out of the break. Richardson against halted the run, this time with a deuce, but Miami added three more points for a seven-point lead midway through the half.
Syracuse fought back with eight straight points to once again grab control. Lydon tapped in a miss to start the run, then Richardson connected from behind the arc on the next Orange possession. Roberson scored inside to knot the score, then Richardson made a free throw on the next trip for a 42-41 SU lead.
A Hurricane three grabbed the lead right back, but a pair of Lydon foul shots again tied the score, this time at 44 with 5:15 to go. Miami turned up the jets, ripping off a dozen straight points to deliver the finishing blow and take a 56-44 lead with under three minutes left.
Gbinije notched a three-point play and Coleman scored inside to whittle the margin down to seven points less than a minute later, but the Hurricanes posted the next six points of the game to end any Orange comeback hopes.
Only two Syracuse players cracked double figures in scoring. Malachi Richardson led the team with 20 points, mostly by drilling 5-of-6 three-point shots. Richardson came into the game having made only three of his last 27 threes in five games. Michael Gbinije had ten points and three steals for the Orange, but committed eight turnovers, which is as many as he committed in any two prior games of the season combined. Tyler Roberson grabbed 11 rebounds for SU while Tyler Lydon collected ten.
Sheldon McClellan topped all scorers by racking up 24 points for the Hurricanes, including sinking 12-of-14 at the free throw line. Ja’Quan Newton added 14 points to Miami’s cause, all in the second half.
The Orange return home for their next three games, starting with Tuesday’s matchup with Clemson. The game with the Tigers (8-6, 1-1 ACC) marks the final one where Mike Hopkins will steer the Syracuse ship.
Clemson snapped a three-game slide on Saturday by knocking off Florida State, 84-75. The win also stopped a five-game losing streak to teams from the Power 5 conferences. Forward Jaron Blossomgame leads the Tigers in both scoring and rebounding with marks of 15.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Jordan Roper comes in hot, having made seven triples en route to 23 points in the win over the Seminoles.