Syracuse, finding balance on offense and defense, routs Miami

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Jan 19, 2021; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange forward Quincy Guerrier (1) drives to the basket as Miami Hurricanes forward Anthony Walker (1) defends during the first half at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Miami got off to a quick start Tuesday night, but Syracuse dominated the final 33 minutes to claim an 83-57 victory. The Orange (8-4, 2-3 ACC) roared back from an early nine-point deficit, peeling off a 23-3 run to take a double-digit lead and never looked back.

The SU offense clicked after a 1-for-10 start, shooting over 60 percent the rest of the way to finish at 52.5 percent from the field. Their defense was nearly as good, holding the Hurricanes (6-7, 2-6) under 40 percent from the floor and forcing 17 turnovers. Those Miami miscues turned into 27 points for the Orange.

Three-point shooting was also a major factor. Each team put up 25 attempts from deep, but Syracuse connected on ten while the ‘Canes made just four, making an 18-point difference.

The Hurricanes dictated the game’s early minutes, finishing an opening 11-2 salvo with seven straight points. SU came right back, wiping out the margin with four straight successful possessions. Joe Girard III banked in a leaner to get things going, then Kadary Richmond made a pair of steals, converting them into his fast break lay-up and a mid-range shot from Girard. Richmond then set up Alan Griffin in the right corner for three and a tie game.

Miami kept it close for three minutes, but Syracuse ran off another 11 points to close their 23-3 burst. Jesse Edwards scored inside a couple times and Girard knocked down a pair of triples in that span, the latter giving the Orange a 25-14 lead with five-and-a-half minutes left in the opening stanza. SU eventually stretched their lead to 36-22 at intermission.

After the break, Syracuse immediately finished the competitive portion of the game with nine straight points. A pair of UM turnovers led to a Griffin lay-up, a three from Buddy Boeheim, and a Miami time out just over a minute into the second half. The pause hardly slowed the Orange, as Quincy Guerrier added a putback dunk and a finish after a slick fake in the paint for a 45-22 lead.

SU slowly kept building their lead with a three-point-play and foul line jumper from Boeheim pushing the margin to 61-33 with just over 11 minutes remaining. The Hurricanes gave one last push to knock seven points off the lead, but the hosts quickly regained control.

Syracuse continued to coast on offense, essentially scoring twice for every Miami tally over an eight-minute span to expand the lead to its greatest point at 83-53 on a Richmond dunk with under 90 seconds remaining.

Buddy Boeheim and Joe Girard III led the way for the Orange, tallying 23 points apiece. Girard hit five threes on the night and rang up 15 of his points in the opening half while Boeheim took over after halftime with 18 points in the second half and four threes overall. Quincy Guerrier added 18 points and a game-high eight rebounds. Kadary Richmond had seven points, eight assists, and five steals off the bench.

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Isaiah Wong topped the Hurricanes with 16 points. Anthony Walker was the only other Miami player in double figures with 13 points and Kameron McGusty added nine.

Next on the schedule for the Orange is another home game, this one Saturday against #16 Virginia Tech. The Hokies (11-2, 5-1), who have won their last three and seven of eight overall, will host Boston College on Wednesday.

Six different players average at least seven points per game for Virginia Tech, led by Keve Aluma’s 14.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per contest, both good for team highs. Jalen Cone is second in scoring at 11.7 points per game on the strength of three triples a game and Tyrece Radford averages 11.2 points and 6.2 boards on the season.

Syracuse and Virginia Tech will meet in a noon Eastern matinee and the game will be televised by regional sports networks.

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About Jim Stechschulte 687 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, where he currently resides. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by NBA.com. Follow him on Twitter @DSafetyGuy.