One of the greatest basketball shooting displays happened at the Carrier Dome Monday night. Unfortunately for Syracuse, it was by #2 Virginia, who connected on 18-of-25 three-pointers as they buried the home team in the second half en route to a 79-53 win.
The Orange (19-11, 10-7 ACC) simply had no answer as the Cavaliers (27-2, 15-2) rained down triples all night and blew open what had been a close game for the first 24 minutes. SU actually led by three points at that early mark of the second half, but Virginia smothered them the rest of the way, outscoring them by a 42-13 margin.
The Cavs made 8-of-12 treys in the first half, then bested that mark by hitting 10-of-13 after the break. That latter mark includes a walk-on missing a triple in the final minute of play.
Syracuse simply struggled, then became frustrated in the second half progressed and the score got completely out of hand. The Orange shot 7-of-26 (26.9 percent) after intermission, including missing 18 of their final 23 attempts of the night.
Neither side could gain much of an advantage in the opening minutes. The first time a team posted two consecutive scores was when Virginia got a foul shot and three-pointer for a 10-7 lead five-and-a-half minutes into the action.
Syracuse answered with eight of the game’s next 11 points in two minutes. Elijah Hughes was fouled on a triple attempt and made all three shots at the line. Following a trey from the guests, Tyus Battle tossed an alley-oop to Paschal Chukwu and Hughes connected on a three from the left side for a 15-13 Orange lead.
The Cavaliers responded with a pair of triples around another Chukwu dunk to go back on top just past the midpoint of the opening half. With under seven minutes left in the half, SU went on the biggest run to that point, rattling off a 9-1 spurt to go in front again.
Battle started the streak with a pull-up jumper and Chukwu scored on a putback to put Syracuse in front. Buddy Boeheim then chased a Virginia foul shot with a jumper and a three from the left wing for a 31-25 lead with under four minutes on the clock.
The guests came right back with seven straight points to go on top, but Frank Howard drained a triple with under a minute left in the first half that gave the Orange a 34-32 halftime lead. SU nudged the lead out to four and held a 40-37 lead just under four minutes into the second half.
And that was when everything caved in.
Virginia jumped in front by a bucket. A Battle three nosed Syracuse back in front. Then, the Cavaliers ripped off 11 straight points, getting three triples while the Orange went in a scoring drought of nearly five-and-a-half minutes.
Buddy Boeheim hit a three from the right corner, bringing the Carrier Dome crowd to life and SU within 53-46. The Cavs promptly buried the hosts, piling up 16 unanswered points to grab a 23-point stranglehold with under five-and-a-half minutes to play. That Boeheim triple proved to be the only Syracuse field goal in over a dozen minutes of play.
Hughes hit a trey to stop the momentum, but it proved to be just a momentary pause, as Virginia piled on eight more points, making it a 34-6 run and a 77-49 lead with under three minutes left.
Tyus Battle, Elijah Hughes, and Buddy Boeheim each scored 11 points to lead the Orange. Battle shot 5-of-19, improving his mark with a couple baskets in his last couple minutes on the floor. Paschal Chukwu did a little bit of everything, finishing with eight points, eight rebounds, two blocks, and two steals.
Kyle Guy buried 8-of-10 threes as he piled up 25 points. De’Andre Hunter drilled 5-of-7 from deep as he added 21 points and Ty Jerome added 5-of-6 triples as he tacked on 16 points.
Syracuse puts a bow on their regular season on Saturday when they visit Clemson. The Tigers (17-12, 7-9), who have dropped four of their last six games, play at Notre Dame on Wednesday prior to welcoming the Orange for the season finale. Currently ninth in the ACC and on the NCAA Tournament bubble, Clemson will be striving to claim a victory over SU.
Marcquise Reed paces the Tigers with 19.2 points per game. Elijah Thomas averages 13.1 points and leads the squad with 7.9 boards and 2.1 blocks per contest. Shelton Mitchell leads the team with 43 three-pointers, just edging out Reed’s 41 treys, while averaging 11.8 points per game.
CBS will televise the Syracuse-Clemson game, which will tip off at noon Eastern Saturday.