A quick take on Syracuse’s impressive 78-60 waltz over No. 16 Virginia Tech in the Dome Saturday afternoon:
WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse (9-4, 3-3) built off the momentum of Tuesday’s win against Miami, winning its second straight ACC game and beating a Top 25 team to boot with a solid 40 minutes of play. It was Syracuse’s first win against a ranked team this season. SU led start to finish, building the lead to double digits early in the second half, and for the first time since the Boston College game on Dec. 12, the Orange were never in trouble of a Hokies second half comeback.
ANALYSIS: Usually, as outside shooting goes, so goes the SU offense, although in this case it was two point baskets close to the rim, and mid-range jump shots that propelled the Orange scoring in its half court offense (SU as just 4-of-13 from beyond the arc). Marek Doelzaj’s scoring game came alive after a two game slump, finishing with 18 points (8-for-8 from the foul line). A good foul shooting team all year, SU was 18-of-22 at the stripe, to take advantage of second chance opportunities drawing fouls. The Orange also had a strong game on the boards, outrebounding Tech 37-26. Jim Boeheim tightened his bench with the starters playing most of the way, although sixth man Kadary Richmond stood out scoring 13 points (with a three-pointer) in his 15 minutes of action.
HERO: Quincy Guerrier’s offensive performance continues to grow as the season progresses. The agile forward scored inside and out and was economical with his shots (6-for-11) and free throws (7-of-9), hitting the 20 point mark for the fourth time this season along with eight rebounds. Alan Griffin bounced back from his offensive woes of late finishing with a double-double – 15 points, 10 boards – and seven blocked shots.
ZERO: Virginia Tech (11-3, 6-2) was shooting 46 percent from beyond the arc entering the game, but give props to the Syracuse defense which hampered the Hokies all day, holding Va. Tech to just 8-of-29 shooting (27%) from long distance.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse has a quick turnaround playing at No. 13 Virginia on the road Monday night, Jan. 25 at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville. Last season, the Orange shocked the Cavaliers on their homecourt 63-55, splitting the two game season series. Virginia (9-2, 5-0) hosts Georgia Tech Saturday evening. Game Time: 7:00 p.m. ET. TV: ESPN.