Instant Juice: Syracuse 63, Virginia 55 OT

Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim
Syracuse Orange head coach Jim Boeheim watches from the sidelines. Mandatory Photo Credit: Kicia Sears, The Juice Online.

A quick take on Syracuse’s shocking 63-55 overtime win over No. 18 Virginia Saturday afternoon, in front of a near sell-out crowd at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Va.:

WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse (9-7, 2-3) silenced the home crowd with a 3-point shooting blitz in overtime as Elijah Hughes, Joe Girard, and Buddy Boeheim hit successive treys in OT, then Boeheim beat the shot clock buzzer with another 3-pointer with 1:17 left to seal matters.  The victory not only ended a two=game ACC losing streak, but was revenge for the season-opening 48-34 loss to the Cavaliers.  SU scored 20-points in OT, after scoring just 43-points during regulation (only 19 in the second half) and held Virginia (11-4, 3-2) to 12 points in the extra session.

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ANALYSIS: In a typical Syracuse-Virginia low-scoring, offensively ugly game, Virginia missed its final 11 3-point shots, including a potential winning shot at the end of regulation, and Syracuse simply had too many missed opportunities to put the game away before finding its shooting groove at exactly the right time.  Hughes had 18-points and 9-rebounds, and Girard was his usual nerveless self with a game-high 19-points.  The Orange big men played a spirited game despite foul trouble, with Bourama Sidibe (fouled out with 4:26 left in regulation) and Marek Dolezaj combining for a critical 20-rebounds.

HERO: Hughes and Girard hit the biggest shots throughout the game to keep the Orange within striking distance the entire second half and then in OT, but it was Boeheim’s three-pointer that will go into Orange hoops lore, an off-balance, long range shot from the right wing with 0:01 on the shot clock that gave this team the emotional lift it needed.

ZERO: Virginia is going to tumble out of the Top 25 with its second straight ACC defeat, and the Hoos will also lament the inability to put Syracuse away in the second half.  It didn’t help that the Cavaliers missed a barrage of three-point shots (7-for-31), but they also were sloppy with 15 turnovers.

WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse returns home for the first of its two games against Boston College next Wed., Jan. 15.  The Orange swept the two games last year, and are 9-3 vs. the Eagles in the ACC era.  Boston College (9-7, 3-2) lost to Georgia Tech 71-52 at home on Saturday evening.  Game Time: 6:30 p.m. ET. TV: ACC Network.

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About Brad Bierman 848 Articles
Now in his sixth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.