A quick take on Syracuse’s surprising 97-63 rout of Georgia Tech in Atlanta on Saturday afternoon for its first ACC win:
WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse played by far its best game against a Power 6 opponent this season, using an early 14-0 run powered by three Elijah Hughes 3-pointers to take 17-4 lead with 15:39 to go. It was part of a torrid offensive performance for Hughes, who nearly single-handedly outscored the Yellow Jackets in the first half (28-26). Buddy Boeheim picked up where Hughes left off in the first half, going on a personal 8-0 run to put the Orange up 56-28 with 17:18 left. It was a shocking result considering the Orange entered Saturday as a 3-point underdog on the road.
ANALYSIS: For one game, Syracuse cured its offensive woes. The Orange shot 50.9 percent from the field and 14-33 from downtown. Things were going so well that SU even enjoyed a +10 advantage on the glass, something that has been a huge issue against Power 6 teams. Defensively, the Orange was just as sharp, limiting the Yellow Jackets to 38.1 shooting from the field, while forcing 19 turnovers. After Syracuse’s brutal 0-3 stretch against Oklahoma State, Penn State and Iowa where SU was never competitive and lost by double-digits, this ACC road win may help to quell some of the concerns about this young team.
HERO: Hughes (33 points) and Boeheim (26) both set career highs. But Syracuse may have also found new energy off the bench. Howard Washington played the best game of his Syracuse career, with eight assists and just one turnover. The Orange has had trouble moving the ball against tougher opponents, and perhaps Washington can be an answer to that.
ZERO: Georgia Tech’s starting backcourt of Michael Devoe and Bubba Parham combined to shoot -23 from the field, and just 4-14 from downtown. The Yellow Jackets were also a combined 7-18 from the free throw line.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Orange play its rivalry game against the Georgetown Hoyas next Saturday, Dec. 14 at 1:00 p.m. at the Verizon Center. TV: FOX.