A quick take on Syracuse’s 82-72 win against Virginia Tech on Wednesday evening:
WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse, up 43-37 at intermission, began the second on a 12-2 run, and took a 55-39 lead after Joe Girard’s 3-pointer with 16:23 to go. The Orange would go up by as many as 22 points but Virginia Tech would make things interesting, with a Grant Basile free throw with 1:36 left made it 75-64. But Girard answered with a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to put the game out of reach and the Orange picked up its 11th win of the season.
ANALYSIS: The stat sheet tells the story of this game. The Hokies shot just 3-19 from downtown, with Rodney Rice going 0-5 from beyond the arc, and Sean Pedulla hitting just 2 of his 11 attempts. Syracuse had no such trouble, with the Orange hitting 8 of 16 from 3-point land, with Chris Bell (2), Girard (3), Justin Taylor (2) and Symir Torrence (1) each connecting. The win leaves the Orange tied for third in the conference with a 4-2 record, just 1.5 games behind 5-0 Clemson. With traditional powers Duke (4-2) and UNC (3-3) struggling, the ACC is more open than in recent memory.
HERO: Girard finished with a game-high 24 points while Maliq Brown came off the bench for 11 points and 12 rebounds. Taylor added 10 points, while Mintz (12) and Edwards (13 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists) also starred.
ZERO: Benny Williams, two games removed from one of his best performances of the season, had just one point and two rebounds. And, in the latest instance of #FreeThrowsMatter, the Orange shot just 14-22 from the line, with Girard missing a highly uncharacteristic three of four free throws.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse stays at home, and hosts Notre Dame on Saturday at 7 p.m. TV: ACCN.