They never led in regulation, but Syracuse also never trailed in overtime, pulling away in the extra five minutes for a 68-60 win over a pesky Virginia Tech team at the Carrier Dome. The Orange (16-8, 6-5 ACC) trailed by nine points in the first half and by seven with 2:26 remaining in the second, but outscored the Hokies (12-11, 4-6) by a 20-5 margin after that to pull out the win. It marks the sixth win in the last seven contests for SU and the fifth straight defeat for Tech.
Syracuse had a mostly poor shooting night, save for hitting 6-of-10 from three-point range after halftime. The Orange defense also stifled Virginia Tech in the final 25 minutes, permitting them to make only 12-of-36 (33.3 percent) of their field goals after the break, including only 2-of-13 from deep.
Overtime encapsulated the difference, as SU hit 4-of-6 from the field, including both of their threes, while holding the guests to a 2-of-7 mark at the same time, including forcing all three of their treys to miss.
The Hokies started off shooting well, drilling their first three shots from deep to jump out to a 9-2 lead. Syracuse would whittle into that lead, eventually pulling within 12-9 on a Michael Gbinije three-pointer off an extra pass by Malachi Richardson.
The two squads traded a couple markers, but Tyler Roberson made a pair from the stripe on the heels of a pretty Gbinije transition lay-up to get the Orange within 16-15 with under seven minutes left in the opening half.
Virginia Tech responded with a 12-4 run to take their biggest lead of the game at 28-19 with just over 80 seconds left in the opening half. Tyler Lydon hit a pair of foul shots to end the run, then followed a Hokie score with a left wing three-point shot with under two seconds in the half to send SU to the locker room staring at a 30-24 deficit.
Syracuse started the second half with a couple of quick scores. Trevor Cooney was scoreless in the first half, but drilled a right wing triple less than ten seconds out of the locker room, and DaJuan Coleman followed with two free throws to shave the gap to a single point.
Virginia Tech responded with seven straight points to regain control. That was no matter to the Orange, as they responded with seven consecutive points of their own.
Frank Howard started the burst with a foul shot, then Richardson struck from three-point-range with a second left on the shot clock. Gbinije added a free throw, then went coast-to-coast with a rebound for a lay-up to make it 37-36 in favor of VT. After a Hokie score, Roberson dunked, then added a free throw to tie the game at 39 a side just past the midpoint of the half.
The Hokies took a three-point lead, then the two teams swapped scores over a span of four minutes. Holding a two-point lead, Tech got a triple and a lay-up to grab a seven-point lead with 3:12 left. Each side scored once more and Virginia Tech held a 55-48 advantage with 2:26 remaining.
After the Hokies missed a lay-up, Richardson drilled a right corner three-ball after freeing himself with a shot-fake and sidestep dribble. Tech missed another lay-up and Richardson made them pay again, this time driving and dishing to Lydon on the doorstep for a dunk that cut the margin to 55-53 with just over a minute on the clock.
Virginia Tech got one charity shot for a three-point lead, but Gbinije quickly wiped that away. He called for a Roberson pick, then, before it arrived, buried a deep straightaway three to knot the game at 56-all.
The Hokies missed their shot to win and Roberson rebounded. Gbinije took the outlet pass, dribbled twice and threw a crosscourt pass to Richardson, whose three-pointer before the horn rolled off the room, sending the game to an extra session.
On the opening possession of the extra frame, Gbinije hit a jumper while straddling the three-point line for the first Orange lead of the night at 58-56. Virginia Tech got a tying basket, but SU closed the game with a 10-2 run.
Cooney started the finishing kick by curling off a screen for a triple from the top of the key. Gbinije missed a fast break lay-up on the next trip, but Lydon, hustling all the way, had the rebound come straight to him and dunked for a 63-58 lead.
The visitors scored to get within three, but Richardson doubled the Syracuse lead with a long three late in the shot clock. Roberson rebounded the ensuing Tech miss and was fouled, making the first of two foul shots. Coleman did the same on the next trip for a 68-60 lead.
Virginia Tech could not find a quick shot and eventually turned the ball over with 27.8 seconds left. The Hokies opted not to foul, ceding the win to the Orange.
For the second straight touting, Michael Gbinije earned game-high honors with 17 points. Tyler Lydon and Malachi Richardson each added 13 points, Lydon doing so before fouling out in overtime and Richardson hitting three triples for most of his damage. Tyler Roberson had yet another double-double with a dozen points and 15 rebounds.
Justin Bibbs paced the Hokies with 16 points and 11 boards. Zach LeDay scored 13 points and Seth Allen chipped in with 11 points.
SU will now have their longest break of the season, as they will look to sweep their four-game homestand on Thursday, February 11 against Florida State. The Seminoles (15-7, 5-5) are on a roll, having won their last three games. They will also travel to Wake Forest on Saturday prior to their trip to Syracuse.
Guards Malik Beasley and Dwayne Bacon are a force for the ‘Noles, as they combine for 33.8 points and 11.4 rebounds per game in a four-guard lineup. Beasley is a particularly strong threat, as he is shooting over 51 percent from the field on the season, including over 40 percent from three-point range.
ESPN will televise the game, which is slated for a 7:00pm Eastern tip-off. The telecast will also be available online at espn3.com and through the ESPN app.