A quick take on Syracuse’s 77-66 win over NC State on Tuesday evening:
WHAT HAPPENED: After Thomas Allen’s free throws trimmed Syracuse’s lead down to 65-62 with 6:13 left, the Orange made every key play down the stretch to emerge with just their second road victory of the season. Buddy Boeheim’s jumper with 4:22 left sparked an 8-0 run that was book ended by Kadary Richmond’s two free throws that put SU up 75-64 with 1:49 to go. Alan Griffin’s 22 points, four rebounds and three steals led Syracuse.
ANALYSIS: With just six games left in the regular season, the Orange needed to bolster its resume. And while defeating an 8-8 team isn’t likely to boost SU’s postseason chances, Syracuse needs all the ACC wins it can get, and it also snapped a four-game road losing streak. Syracuse’s best opportunities remaining are road games against Duke and Louisville, and a home matchup against UNC. They must also hold serve in home matchups with Boston College and Notre Dame (a combined 5-13 in ACC play) to avoid the dreaded “bad” loss on their resume.
HERO: Just one game after Syracuse suffered its most lopsided loss of the season against Clemson, the Orange recommitted to its defense to defeat NC State for the second time in as many weeks. SU forced 20 turnovers and held the Wolfpack to just four points in the final four minutes, while getting a rare +4 in the rebounding margin. Syracuse also looked smooth offensively, shooting 46 percent from the field and 9-19 from downtown. Buddy Boeheim had one of his best shooting games of the season, with 16 points on 6-12 shooting (3-5 from 3) and Kadary Richmond relieved a mostly ineffective Joe Girard to steady SU’s offense with 8 points, 3 assists, 3 steals and a block for good measure.
ZERO: Some questionable foul calls led key Orange players to be in foul trouble throughout the night. Quincy Guerrier put in another yeoman like effort with 14 points and seven rebounds, but he also fouled out late in the second half. Boeheim also played with four fouls.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse returns home to face Boston College on Saturday, feb. 13 at 2 p.m. TV: ACC Network.