Syracuse pulled away from NC State in the final two minutes on Wednesday evening, outlasting the Wolfpack, 89-82. Here are some quick thoughts from the game:
- Jesse Edwards had a big first five minutes on offense, notching seven points and handing out a couple assists before the first media time out.
- Edwards’ strong play out the outset of the game was matched by North Carolina State’s perimeter performance. The Wolfpack opened the game draining 8-of-13 shots from three-point range as they grabbed their biggest lead of the night at 32-25. Their success forced SU to switch to their 1-1-3 defense with just over seven minutes left in first. That slowed down the hosts, as they only had a single long-range attempt over the next three minutes and made just 2-of-7 threes over the remainder of the half.
- Joe Girard III was fouled on right hand shooting a three with 8:03 left in first and spent much of the time prior to approaching the free throw line shaking his hand. The contact did not affect him, as he made all three shots and did not leave the game due to the foul.
- Girard also had one of his best games as a set-up man at SU, handing out five of his eight assists while the Orange outscored N.C. State 28-12 in under seven-and-a-half minutes early in the second half. He showed a variety of passes during half-court play in the contest, both zipping and lobbing passes to Edwards inside while also setting up Buddy Boeheim and Swider with dribble-handoff plays for open threes.
- After playing well against Wake Forest on Saturday, Frank Anselem struggled against the Wolfpack. Anselem was assessed two fouls in under three-and-a-half minutes during his original first half appearance, getting whistled for a soft push on offensive rebound, then another on a late recovery on a Wolfpack dunk. He added a third foul to the stat sheet before intermission and spent the second half in a seat on the bench.
- The Orange made their first 11 shots of the second half, then shot “just” 6-of-12 the rest of the way. Meanwhile, N.C. State opened the session with just three makes among their first 12 shots.
- Cole Swider has 37 points in his last two games, his highest output in any back-to-back games of the season. Swider has shot 75 percent from the field (15-of-20) in those games, including making all six triples he has attempted to get over 37 percent from long range on the season.
- SU was very effective inside the paint, outscoring the ‘Pack there, 36-24. Edwards had five lay-ups and three dunks while Jimmy Boeheim was credited with five lay-ups and another short shot outside the restricted circle.
Syracuse will return home for their next game when Louisville comes calling on Saturday afternoon. The Cardinals (11-11, 5-7) have dropped seven of their last eight games, their most recent pair coming after they relieved Chris Mack of his coaching duties.
Louisville’s top scorer, forward Malik Williams, was suspended indefinitely prior to their most recent game against North Carolina and his availability against the Orange has not yet been made known. One of nine Cards averaging at least 16 minutes of playing time, Williams averages 10.0 points and 8.4 rebounds a game. Guards Noah Locke (50 threes made, 36.0 percent) and El Ellis (27 threes, 39.1 percent) are Louisville’s top perimeter threats.
Saturday’s tip between SU and the Cardinals is set for 2:00pm Eastern and the contest will be televised by ESPN2.