Instant Juice: Syracuse 64, Clemson 54

Mar 3, 2021; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange forward Marek Dolezaj (21) loses control of the ball on a drive to the basket as Clemson Tigers forward Aamir Simms (25) defends during the first half at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

A quick take on Syracuse’s 64-54 win over Clemson on Wednesday evening:

WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse was clinging to a 25-22 lead at intermission, but coming out of halftime, Alan Griffin single-handedly willed the Orange to a win. Griffin’s 3-pointer a minute into the half was a sign of things to come, as he hit two more in the next two minutes as part of a 19-point second half. His third 3-pointer with 17:29 left gave Syracuse a 36-22 lead, and the Tigers could never trim the lead under double digits. It was a measure of revenge for the Orange, which was routed on Feb. 6 on the road by the same Clemson team, 78-61.

ANALYSIS: The win over the Tigers bumps Syracuse’s record in Quadrant 2 games to 4-1, though the Orange is also 0-6 in Q1 games. Syracuse should pay particular attention to Clemson and NC State from here on out. NC State is ranked 76th in NET, and with a road win against them in February, Syracuse would qualify for a Quadrant 1 win if the Wolfpack inch inside the top 75 (a Q1 win is awarded for a road win against a top 75 NET team). NCST plays Notre Dame later this evening. As for Clemson, they came into Wednesday’s matchup ranked 33rd in NET, and a Q1 win is awarded for home teams that defeat a top 30 NET team. Certainly, the Orange should be rooting for these two teams in the ACC Tournament, that is, unless SU is playing them.

HERO: Well, this is an easy one. Griffin’s monstrous second half was part of a 22 point, 10 rebound, 3 block effort. Syracuse also won the rebounding battle against the Tigers, going +2 on the boards, with Quincy Guerrier and Marek Dolezaj combining for 17 rebounds. Compare that to the loss in February, when Clemson enjoyed a +17 advantage on the glass.

» Related: Syracuse keeps postseason hopes alive with win over UNC

ZERO: This was far from a pretty game, with both teams shooting under 40 percent from the field. Outside of Griffin, the Orange struggled from 3-point land, as anyone not named Griffin was a combined 4-20 from distance (Buddy Boeheim was 2-10 and Guerrier was 0-4). Meanwhile, the Tigers shot just 33.9 percent from the field as Aamir Simms was in foul trouble and finished with only six points and eight rebounds. He had gone off for 18 points and 11 rebounds in Clemson’s February win over SU.

WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse is currently eighth in the ACC standings, and will wait to see who they will play in the conference championship. The 68th edition of the ACC Tournament will be held in Greensboro from March 9 to 13.

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About Wes Cheng 2907 Articles
Wes has worked for covering the New York Knicks, as well as for covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also been a contributing writer for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), for SportsNet New York (SNY) as a news desk writer covering all of New York professional sports, and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005 with a degree in journalism. Contact him at wes[at]