Early surge can’t offset Syracuse basketball’s late stumbles

Dec 7, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange guard Buddy Boeheim (35) drives to the basket as Villanova Wildcats forward Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree (21) defends during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

No. 6 Villanova proved to be too much for Syracuse in the nightcap of the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden, using a superior second half effort to claim a 67-53 victory. The Wildcats (7-2) opened the second half with a 9-2 run to take the lead, then later ripped off an 18-6 run to put the Orange (5-4) away.

The SU offense simply could not stay in gear for any extended period of time, as they shot under 40 percent in each half. Jimmy Boeheim and Joe Girard III combined to shoot 14-of-25 from the field and the rest of the team just 6-of-28. Buddy Boeheim struggled all night, finishing with a 3-for-15 shooting line.

Both teams came out of the box hot, piling up 14 points a side in under five-and-a-half minutes, but that offensive outburst was short-lived. Syracuse would score eight of the game’s nine points during one stretch, grabbing their biggest lead of the game at 22-17 with 7:31 left in the opening session.

The Wildcats would knot the game before the break, but the Orange got a Girard three and a Jimmy Boeheim bucket in the final seconds for a 29-26 halftime advantage. Villanova took the lead quickly in the second half, but SU reclaimed it when Jesse Edwards backed a pair of foul shots with a three-point play off a dunk.

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Just over a minute later, ‘Nova took off with an 18-6 stretch that lasted over eight minutes and gave them a 61-51 lead with just over four minutes remaining.

Jimmy Boeheim led all scorers with 21 points. Joe Girard III had 11 points and Jesse Edwards finished with ten, including eight from the foul line. Cole Swider matched Edwards with three blocks and had a game-high 12 rebounds.

Justin Moore and Collin Gillespie each had four three-pointers for Villanova as they combined for 32 points, Moore pouring in 18. Jermaine Samuels added 13 while Caleb Daniels chipped in with 11.

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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 NBA.com. He currently resides in Syracuse.