Instant Juice: Syracuse 75, West Virginia 72

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 19: Buddy Boeheim #35 of the Syracuse Orange reacts to a three point basket against the San Diego State Aztecs during the second half in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament held at Hinkle Fieldhouse on March 19, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

A quick take on Syracuse’s 75-72 win over West Virginia to advance them to the Sweet 16:

WHAT HAPPENED: A 14-3 run midway through the second half gave Syracuse a seemingly insurmountable 70-59 lead with 2:23 to go. But the Orange made several costly mistakes down the stretch, and West Virginia pulled to within 74-72 with 5 seconds left after a Gabe Osabuohein layup. On the ensuing inbounds, Buddy Boeheim played the role of wide receiver, hauling in a release pass from Marek Dolezaj and absorbed the foul. He hit a free throw, and Miles McBride walked after being trapped, as the Orange escaped.

ANALYSIS: It was once again the Buddy Boeheim show on Sunday evening. Fresh off a dominant 30-point performance against SDSU in the opening round, Boeheim started slow in the first half, but found his stroke in the second to finish with 25 points on 6-13 shooting from downtown. For much of the first half, the Orange flummoxed the West Virginia attack, and forced them into 14 turnovers and 37.1 percent shooting on the day. But Syracuse also struggled to defend the 3-point line, and specifically Sean McNeil, who went toe-to-toe with Buddy Boeheim, hitting 7 of his 13 shots from distance for 23 points. But the legend of (Buddy) Boeheim continues to grow, and the Orange is headed to the Sweet 16 for the second time in the last four years as a No. 11 seed.

HERO: Aside from Boeheim, the Orange got solid performance from Joe Girard in the first half (12 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds), and Guerrier (12 points, 7 rebounds, 5 blocks).

» Related: Syracuse playing in an NCAA Tournament unlike any other in history

ZERO: A rough day for the Orange’s front line and fouls. Quincy Guerrier (3), Dolezaj (4) and Jesse Edwards (4) left the Orange thin up front, and forced Dolezaj to play passively in the final stretch. Alan Griffin’s struggles continued for a third game, as he had only 3 points all evening.

WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse awaits the winner of No. 2 Houston and No. 10 Rutgers in the Sweet 16.

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About Wes Cheng 2662 Articles
Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) 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. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.