Virginia has little trouble with Syracuse basketball

Dec 16, 2020; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange head coach Jim Boeheim reacts to a play against the Northeastern Huskies during the first half at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Monday night, Syracuse was simply outclassed in an 81-58 loss at #8 Virginia. The Cavaliers kept their pristine ACC mark alive, moving to 7-0 in the conference and 11-2 overall on the strength of 14 three-pointers, the most given up by the Orange (9-5, 3-4 ACC) in any game this season.

Virginia displayed superior ball movement almost all night long, racking up 23 assists on their 29 field goals. Eight of those helpers came on dunks, including a half dozen beating SU’s 2-3 zone for backdoor alley-oops.

The Syracuse offense was spotty all night, making just over 37 percent of their field goal attempts, including just 5-of-24 (20.8 percent) from three. Buddy Boeheim was the biggest offender, making just 1-of-8 from long range to extend his long range slump to 6-of-29 and drop him to 27.2 percent from deep on the season. In fact, Marek Dolezaj was the only Orange player to make half his shots in the game.

SU jumped out to an early 6-2 lead, but that was all but the end of the positives for the Orange. Virginia responded with 12 straight points, connecting on a pair of threes, then hammering home three alley-oops for a 14-6 lead with just over seven minutes elapsed.

Syracuse stayed close for a few minutes, getting a baseline drive from Buddy Boeheim and an inside score from Alan Griffin to draw within four points. The Cavaliers added on another run a couple minutes later, though, this one an 8-2 burst to grab a 30-18 lead with under six minutes left in the first half.

The Orange responded with what would prove to be their best play of the game, running off eight straight points. Griffin connected on a three from the left wing to open the burst, then Quincy Guerrier added a putback. Griffin then secured a miss and kicked it out to Boeheim on the right wing for another three to pull SU within 30-26 with a little over three minutes on the clock.

That long bomb was the last Syracuse point for over five minutes, though, as the hosts tacked on five points for a 35-26 halftime lead and three-pointers on their first two possessions out of the break for a 15-point lead. Marek Dolezaj slipped a pass to Guerrier for a dunk and Joe Girard III added a right elbow jumper to bring the Orange within 41-30, but they would not get within single digits again.

SU matched the Cavaliers’ output for the next five minutes, but Virginia ended that by ringing up seven markers for a 56-38 lead with 10:37 to play. Several minutes later, Griffin and Guerrier would combine for six straight points to narrow the gap to 11 with a little over five minutes left, but the Cavaliers scored twice to extend the margin to 69-54. The hosts then added a 12-0 run on the heels of a Guerrier dunk for a 25-point lead to put the game away.

Quincy Guerrier topped the Orange with 15 points and gathered three steals in the game. Alan Griffin was the only other SU player to crack double digits, finishing with 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Buddy Boeheim had nine points while Marek Dolezaj and Joe Girard III each had eight. Dolezaj also had three steals in the game.

» Related: Syracuse tops its first ranked opponent of the season, taking down No. 16 Va. Tech

Sam Hauser and Jay Huff led the way for the Cavaliers, each piling up 21 points. Hauser connected on seven threes, five in the first half, while Huff poured in 15 points after halftime and pulled down a dozen boards on the night. Trey Murphy III connected four times from long distance as he had 16 points and Reece Beekman chipped in with ten points. Kihei Clark handed out a game-high nine assists.

Syracuse will have a fairly long break before their next game, which is when North Carolina State visits on Sunday evening. The Wolfpack (6-5, 2-4) have dropped their last four games, all in conference action, and host Wake Forest on Wednesday night prior to their trip north.

Devon Daniels paces the ‘Pack in points, averaging 16.2 per outing, and led all scorers with 21 in their most recent game, an 86-76 loss to North Carolina. D.J. Funderburk and Jericole Hellems also average double digits in scoring, posting 12.4 and 11.3 points per game, respectively.

Sunday’s action will get underway at 6:00pm Eastern and be televised by the ACC Network.

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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.