After tying the game with just under seven minutes to play, the Syracuse offense went into hibernation and Virginia Tech outscored them the rest of the way by a 17-5 margin en route to claiming a 71-59 home victory. The Hokies (15-10, 7-7) ran their win streak to five straight games while preventing the Orange (13-12, 7-7 ACC) from doing the same.
Buddy Boeheim made a baseline jump shot to close SU’s own 17-5 run, knotting the score at 54 a side. After missing their next shot, Virginia Tech connected four times in a row from the floor, all of those scores coming from inside the key, including a pair of dunks, as they built a 62-54 lead in three minutes of play. Meanwhile, Syracuse missed eight straight shots as part of nine consecutive scoreless possessions, allowing the hosts to build their unsurmountable lead.
The Orange found themselves on the very bad end of the turnover battle, forcing only four Hokie miscues while coughing the ball up 11 times. Virginia Tech made sure to take advantage, finishing the evening with a 17-2 lead in points off turnovers. The Hokies also took care not to defeat themselves, committing only nine fouls while enjoying 21 free throw attempts compared to just four by SU.
Virginia Tech enjoyed the first burst of the game, running off seven straight points for a 13-6 lead less than five minutes into the action. Jimmy Boeheim responded for Syracuse, connecting on back-to-back threes to erase most of the margin, and the Orange later ran off seven straight markers of their own for a 23-20 lead with under 6:30 left in the first half.
The Hokies, however, owned the rest of the half, ripping off an 11-0 burst as part of a 19-6 run to close the half and take a 39-29 lead at the break. Six straight points shortly after halftime wrapped pushed their lead to 49-37.
SU responded, though, getting a pair of triples from Buddy Boeheim and a third from Joe Girard III, slicing the margin to 49-46 with 13 minutes to play. Less than five minutes later, they drew within a single point, then knotted the score at 54 with 6:56 remaining, setting up Virginia Tech’s finishing kick.
Buddy Boeheim had game high honors with 21 points, including 15 in the second half, while his backcourt mate Joe Girard III added 16 points. Both guards connected four times from beyond the arc. Cole Swider cooled off, missing all five of his long-range attempts, but grabbed ten rebounds to go with eight points. In his first career start, Frank Anselem grabbed 15 boards to go with six points.
Virginia Tech had a balanced offense, getting five players in double figures, led by Keve Aluma’s 20 points. Hunter Cattour backed him with 14 points. Justyn Mutts had an excellent night, posting a 12-point, 14-rebound, 11-assist triple double. Nahiem Alleyne added 11 markers and Darius Maddox ten, all in the opening half.