ATLANTA — Blame it on the lighting. Blame it on the climate change between Atlanta and Syracuse in the wintertime. Who knows?
But, Syracuse’s first three trips to McCamish Pavilion to face Georgia Tech were anything but sights to behold.
In January 2015, Syracuse managed to escape with a 46-45 win, thanks to Georgia Tech not making a field goal in nearly nine minutes to end the game. In a game that saw the Orange shoot 34 percent and the Yellow Jackets shoot 26 percent, neither team led by more than four points. Only two players on Syracuse manage to score in double figures, led by Rakeem Christmas’ 18 points.
Low shooting numbers was again the theme in February 2017, when Georgia Tech upset Syracuse 71-65. The Orange shot just 35 percent in that game, which at the time was a season low in conference play. The Orange missed 15 of their first 17 shots in the second half. Despite that, they cut the deficit from 13 down to two with under a minute to play, but couldn’t come all the way back. Taurean Thompson actually led Syracuse with 19 points.
The two teams squared off in Atlanta again in January 2018. And, again, the ball didn’t find the bottom of the net as much as the Orange would have liked. Syracuse lost 55-51 in a game in which they never had the lead. At the time, it was the second lowest points total of the season for Syracuse, leading coach Jim Boeheim to say, “Our offense is terrible. It’s been terrible all year.”
He was right. The Orange shot just 30 percent (Georgia Tech shot just 33 percent, scoring only 10 points in the paint the entire game. Tyus Battle scored 19 points to lead the Orange, but he and Frank Howard were each just 4-17 from the field.
In fact, I’m beginning to think Syracuse’s season opener this season against Virginia, where it scored just 34 points for the game, was also played at McCamish Pavilion…
But Syracuse’s visit to the south was much kinder to the Orange in 2019. Elijah Hughes made sure of it, scoring 26 of his game-high 33 points in the first half. His halftime total was more than any Orange player has scored in an entire game at Georgia Tech’s new home arena.
Buddy Boeheim added 26 points, as he and Hughes nearly outscored Georgia Tech’s entire team by themselves. Syracuse shot almost 51 percent for the game, knocking down 14 3-pointers (six each for Hughes and Boeheim).
In scoring 97 points and earning its first ACC win of the season, Syracuse put forth nearly two games worth of productivity as compared to their other visits to McCamish Pavilion.
- Joe Girard III went 2-for-2 from the free throw line on Saturday, boosting his season numbers to 23-for-24 (95.8%)
- Howard Washington played in season-high 17 minutes, dishing out eight assists. His previous high was 12 against Bucknell on November 23.
- Quincy Guerrier, who had been on a nice stretch of late, went scoreless, had three turnovers and fouled out in just 12 minutes.
- Syracuse scored 97 points, equaling their season high set against Bucknell.