Syracuse basketball sweats one out but survives against Northeastern

Dec 16, 2020; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange guard Buddy Boeheim (35) drives to the basket between Northeastern Huskies guard Tyson Walker (left) and guard Jahmyl Telfort (right) during the first half at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday afternoon, Syracuse and Northeastern met in a game that had been scheduled two days earlier. The level of play often looked like both teams were actually enjoying a day off, but the Orange (5-1) pulled it together late for long enough to eke out a 62-56 home win.

SU was lousy overall on offense, but bailed out by Quincy Guerrier’s effort and some strong free throw shooting. Guerrier finished with his third double-double of the season, pulling down a career-high 16 rebounds, seven on the offensive glass, to go with 18 points. Joe Girard III drained all nine of his foul shots as part of the team’s 22-for-26 effort at the stripe, finishing with a game-high 21 points. Marek Dolezaj was the third Syracuse player in double digits, adding 14 points.

Outside of those three players, the Orange got nine points. The team collectively shot just 31.7 percent from the floor and Dolezaj, Girard, and Guerrier made all but one of the team’s field goals. Buddy Boeheim made his first shot of the day, then missed his next 11. Alan Griffin missed all four of his shots from the floor and ended up on the bench for the contest’s final 9:41.

At least SU was pretty effective on the defensive end of the floor. They wrung 21 turnovers out of the Huskies (1-2) and held them to 38.3 percent shooting on the day. Syracuse was particularly stingy in the second half, allowing Northeastern to make just one-third of their shots, including just 2-of-20 threes, and forced a dozen miscues.

After giving up the open basket of the day, the Huskies scored the next eight points to go in front. The Orange responded with 15 of the game’s next 20 points. Joe Girard III and Quincy Guerrier did most of the heavy lifting in that span. Girard had eight points, including a pair of triples, and tossed a long lob to Guerrier for a lay-in that accounted for two of his five points in the run. When that stretch ended, SU held a 17-13 lead just past the midpoint of the opening half.

Northeastern came right back, connecting on four three-pointers in less than three minutes. The long bombs provided all the guests’ offense in a 12-2 run that staked them to a 25-19 lead with a little over six minutes until halftime.

Syracuse clipped the margin to two right away, getting baskets inside from Guerrier and Marek Dolezaj During the final two minutes before the break, Girard pulled the Orange within a single point twice, then Alan Griffin found Dolezaj right in front of the bucket for a lay-up to give SU a 32-31 halftime lead.

The teams traded the lead in the early moments of the second half, then Northeastern scored six points while Syracuse did not make a field goal for just over six minutes. The Huskies got a trey to stretch their lead to four points just over nine minutes into the half, but it was their turn to go ice cold, then going scoreless for over four minutes.

The Orange took advantage, piecing together seven points to take the lead for good. Kadary Richmond made a free throw, then Guerrier added a pair a minute later. Guerrier finished a Richmond alley-oop for a soft dunk, then Richmond added two more foul shots for a 47-44 SU lead with a little over seven minutes to play.

The two sides again traded markers until a pair of Girard free throws pushed Syracuse to a 53-48 edge with a little over four minutes remaining. The Huskies would pull within a deuce, but Dolezaj dropped in a putback and Girard turned a steal into a three-point play, swelling the margin to 60-53 with 1:52 on the clock.

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Three free throws brought the visitors within four, but Richmond made two from the stripe to close the scoring with 20 seconds left. Northeastern missed a final three, then allowed the remaining handful of seconds to elapse.

Jahmyl Telfort paced the Huskies with 16 points, making three triples in the game. Jason Strong and Coleman Stucke each chipped in nine points with the latter also knocking down three shots from behind the arc. Reg Eboigbodin had ten rebounds for Northeastern.

SU returns to action on Saturday, when they will welcome Buffalo for a non-conference tilt that will get underway at 6:00pm Eastern on the ACC Network. The Bulls stand 3-2 on the season, having won two in a row, including routing Miami (Ohio) on the road on Tuesday, 90-62.

Three different players average double figures for Buffalo, led by forward Jeenathan Williams’ 20.0 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. Guards Jayvon Graves (16.4 points per game) and Ronaldo Segu (13.6 points per game) provide support to Williams.

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About Jim Stechschulte 894 Articles
A 1996 graduate of Syracuse University, Jim has reported on Syracuse sports for the Syracuse University Alumni Club of Southern California on nearly a decade. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by He currently resides in Syracuse.