After scoring just 19 points in the second half, Syracuse got scorching hot in overtime, blistering the nets for five threes and 20 points overall to grab a 63-55 win at #18 Virginia. Buddy Boeheim had nine points in the extra session, including a 45-foot three-pointer against the shot clock that gave the Orange (9-7, 2-3 ACC) a 57-49 lead, matching their biggest cushion to that point.
The Cavaliers (11-4, 3-2) used a 15-2 run early in the second half to go up by five, but SU tied the score shortly after the midpoint of the session. Each team scored just eight points the rest of regulation, sending the game to overtime with the score at 43 a side.
Syracuse made 5-of-6 threes in overtime, pushing their overall mark for the game to 40 percent (12-of-30). Virginia could not keep pace from long distance, making just 7-of-31 (22.6 percent) from deep. The two teams combined to shoot just 32 percent overall from the field.
Neither team led by more than one possession until the largest “run” in the opening half. It resulted from Elijah Hughes making a pair of three-pointers 90 seconds apart to break an 11-11 tie and give the Orange a 17-11 lead with 6:30 on the clock.
The Cavaliers struck back with a couple baskets during a scoreless streak of over five minutes by the Orange. Bourama Sidibe was credited with a basket on a goaltending call to get SU back in the scoring column, then Joe Girard III hit a three-pointer for the largest lead of the half at 22-15.
Virginia clipped the lead to 24-20 at halftime on a putback dunk with a few seconds remaining. Buddy Boeheim got off a desperation attempt from beyond midcourt before the horn, but it clunked off the iron.
Syracuse needed just over a minute to stretch their lead to eight. Marek Dolezaj finished off some quick ball movement by setting up a Sidibe lay-in, then Hughes pushed the ball in transition for a lay-up and a 28-20 edge. Hughes would later add a fast break slam for a 30-23 lead, earning a timeout from Virginia.
The Cavaliers promptly settled down, sticking a pair of threes to get within a single point. A lay-up gave them the lead and forced an Orange timeout. Virginia would force another timeout with two more scores that made it a 12-0 overall run and gave them a 35-30 lead.
Dolezaj connected on a pair of free throws and Girard swished a three from the left break, tying the game at 35. Neither team scored for the next four-plus minutes and the margin never went more than two points either way for the rest of regulation.
The Cavs scored on their first possession, but SU opened the floodgates with nine straight points, all coming from long range. Dolezaj set up Hughes for a three at the left break, then Girard shook free on the right side and drilled one of his own. Dolezaj then blocked a Virginia shot, snagged the ball, and dribbled upcourt, finding Boeheim on the right wing for a swished triple for a 52-45 lead less than 100 seconds into the extra time.
The hosts got within five twice, but Boeheim chased down a loose ball late in the shot clock and heaved it from just inside halfcourt. The ball went off the glass and settled in the basket for a 57-49 lead with 1:17 to play. Virginia came up empty on their possession and Girard pulled up from long range to push the gap to 11, making the final 46 seconds academic.
Joe Girard III went 5-for-11 from deep, finishing with a game-high 19 points. Elijah Hughes added four threes as he finished with 18 points and nine rebounds. Buddy Boeheim only had two points with just over three minutes left in regulation, but totaled 14 with a hot finishing kick. Marek Dolezaj had seven points, 11 rebounds, and five assists.
Jay Huff topped Virginia with 16 points and snared ten boards. Kihei Clark and Mamadi Diakite each added 13 points with Clark handing out nine assists. Braxton Key finished with seven points, 11 rebounds, and four steals.
SU returns home on Wednesday for a contest against Boston College. The Eagles (9-7, 3-2) were blitzed on Saturday by Georgia Tech, 71-52, in a game where they were missing two of their top three scorers, Derryck Thornton and Nik Popovic.
Jay Heath, BC’s leading healthy scorer at 12.1 points per game had nine against the Yellow Jackets. C.J. Felder (12) and Steffon Mitchell (10) were the Eagles’ only double figure scorers against Georgia Tech. Mitchell doubles as a strong defender, leading Boston College in rebounds, steals, and blocks per game. The Eagles have struggled from long distance this season, making just 30 percent of their threes as a team.
SU and BC will renew their rivalry at 6:30pm Eastern on Wednesday at the Carrier Dome with the game on the ACC Network.