Syracuse torched the nets in the second half, erasing a halftime deficit and pulling away in the final moments for an 89-82 victory at North Carolina State on Wednesday night. The Orange (11-11, 5-6 ACC) had more made three-pointers than missed field goals after halftime, barraging the Wolfpack (10-13, 3-9) with 73.9 percent shooting after the break, including connecting on 77.8 percent of their triple tries.
That hot shooting enabled SU to escape with the win despite a porous perimeter defense that allowed 16 treys to the ‘Pack. Fortunately, that defense tightened up later in the game, allowing just a single triple on the last nine N.C. State attempts despite allowing half of their 30 hoists from deep to find the bottom of the net prior to that.
The start of the game was a back-and-forth affair, neither side leading by more than a single possession until North Carolina State connected on three consecutive triples for a 9-2 run and a 29-22 lead shortly past the midpoint of the opening half. Syracuse clawed back within a single point a little over three minutes later, then knotted the score with just under a minute on the clock on a Joe Girard III trey before the Wolfpack answered with one of their own for a 45-42 advantage at the break.
The hosts added on another triple to open the second half, but the Orange responded with the next dozen points to flip the six-point deficit to a similar-sized lead. The ’Pack narrowed the gap to a single point, but Jimmy Boeheim answered with five straight points to start a nine-point burst for SU, giving them a 63-53 cushion just over six minutes into the second session.
Syracuse would nudge that margin out to 11 points, but N.C. State responded with their own run, outscoring the Orange 11-2 to draw within 70-68 with 9:29 remaining. Cole Swider responded to the challenge with a three-point play and a triple around a Wolfpack bucket, pushing the lead back out to five.
The hosts would not go quietly, though, drawing within a single point twice with under four minutes to go. SU closed the contest with the final six points, started by another Swider triple, as they held the ‘Pack without a field goal over the final three-and-a-half minutes to escape with the win.
The five starters were the only players who scored for the Orange, each posting between 16 and 19 points. Jesse Edwards and Cole Swider led the way with 19 apiece, Edwards shooting 8-for-9 from the field and Swider 7-for-9, including burying all four of his attempts from deep. Joe Girard III had 18 points while tying a season-high of eight assists. Buddy Boeheim added 17 points while Jimmy Boeheim had 16, making 7-of-9 shots from the field, as well.
Terquavion Smith did his best to keep N.C. State in the game, hitting seven triples as he claimed game high honors with 25 points. Dereon Seabron added 17 points while Jaylon Gibson notched 14. Thomas Allen and Casey Morsell each knocked down three triples, adding 11 and nine points, respectively, to the Wolfpack side of the ledger.