In a game featuring nine lead changes and ten ties and where neither side led by more than seven points, Syracuse was able to score seven of the game’s final eight points to eke out a 60-57 win over Georgia Tech at the Carrier Dome on Saturday afternoon. The Orange notched their fifth win in six outings to climb up to 5-5 in ACC play and 15-8 overall. The loss pushed the Yellow Jackets to 12-9 overall and 2-6 in conference.
SU put forth a strong defensive effort, holding Tech to 37.5 percent shooting overall and a mere 29.6 percent from the floor in the second half. The Orange did not fare particularly well on offense, shooting 42 percent from the field overall and 38.9 percent after the break, but were able to convert a dozen turnovers into 16 points.
Syracuse also held their own inside against a bruising GT frontline. While SU was outrebounded by five in the game, they were able to outscore the Jackets in the paint, 30-28.
It took nearly three minutes for the Orange to get into the scorebook, but when they did, it was with a pair of three-pointers. The first was a stepback effort from Trevor Cooney, then Michael Gbinije added one of his own to give SU a 6-2 lead. Tech was able to tie the score, but Gbinije slashed to the hoop for a three-point play around the first media break for a 9-6 Syracuse lead.
Georgia Tech responded with an 8-2 run to regain control and take a three-point lead. A couple minutes after that streak, the Orange hung six straight points to reverse the margin. Cooney stuck a jumper, then finished a strong drive with a lay-in to put Syracuse in front. Gbinije and DaJuan Coleman each tacked on a foul shot to give SU a 19-16 lead with 9:15 left in the opening half.
A Yellow Jackets triple erased the Orange lead, but the home squad ran up six more consecutive points. Tyler Roberson and Gbinije each had a dunk surrounding a Coleman lay-in to make it 25-19 in favor of the hosts. Tech added another three to their side, but Syracuse responded with Coleman burrowing inside for a deuce and a Roberson laying the ball in for their largest lead of the game at 29-22 with just over four minutes left before the break.
Georgia Tech opted for a time out and came out strong, going on a 13-3 run that nearly ate up the rest of the half. The Orange had the last possession before intermission, though, and Tyler Lydon swished a trey from the right wing with just over two seconds on the clock to send the game to the break at 35 a side.
Gbinije and Malachi Richardson each scored a lay-up in the first 40 seconds of the second half, but Georgia Tech matched those points, setting a tone for the rest of the game.
Coleman buried two from the line and Gbinije returned from a brief rest after getting poked in the eye to connect on a left corner three to boost SU to a 44-39 lead. The Jackets replied with a run of their own, hanging seven straight points to go up by a couple markers with 13:30 on the clock.
The Orange offense cooled off then, but their defense allowed them to remain close. Georgia Tech eventually crawled out to a 53-49 lead with just over five minutes to go, but Richardson connected from deep and Frank Howard dropped in a foul shot to tie the score with 3:29 remaining.
The Yellow Jackets scored with just under three minutes to go to regain the lead, but that would prove to be their final field goal of the game. Richardson answered that Tech score with a left-handed slash to the rim to tie the game at 55-55. Gbinije came up with a loose ball on the next GT possession and sprinted toward the rim, getting fouled on the play. He swished the first shot, then got a friendly bounce on the second for a 57-55 lead.
The Syracuse defense forced a miss and a turnover on the next pair of Tech trips, taking possession with 26 seconds left. The Orange inbounded and the Jackets allowed ten seconds to elapse before fouling. Richardson made one from the line, making the SU lead three.
With 10.2 seconds left, Syracuse fouled to prevent the tie and Tech got the first free throw. The second was awry and the loose ball was batted around until Gbinije was called for a foul with under six seconds left. The again masde the first, then missed the second. Richardson chased down the Orange rebound and being fouled with 2.8 ticks left.
Richardson drained both shots for a 60-57 SU lead, then broke up a long inbounds pass. Tech recovered the ball and got a halfcourt heave that missed as the clock headed to zeroes.
Michael Gbinije led all scorers with 16 points on the day and added three steals to his ACC-leading total. Malachi Richardson backed him up with 13 points, all in the second half, and DaJuan Coleman was the third Syracuse player in double figures, fouling out after tallying 11 points.
Nick Jacobs paced the Yellow Jackets with 14 points. Adam Smith added 13 to the Tech cause and Ben Lammers chipped in with ten points.
The Orange return to action on Tuesday when they host Virginia Tech at the Carrier Dome. The Hokies (12-9, 4-4) have cooled off lately, dropping their last three games, and travel to Pittsburgh for a Sunday afternoon matchup with the Panthers before heading to Syracuse.
Four different players average double figures in scoring for the Hokies, led by Zach DeLay, who tops the team with averages of 16.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game. Justin Bibbs averages 12.0 points per contest and has connected on 47 three-point shots at a 51.6 percent rate.
The action will get underway at 8:00pm Eastern on Tuesday night. The ACC Network will handle the television duties, so please consult your local listings. The telecast will also be available online at espn3.com and through the ESPN app.