Presented with an opportunity for a big win on Monday, Syracuse led by as many as 11 points in the second half, but wilted late and dropped an 82-78 final at #17 Miami. The Orange (12-7, 5-3 ACC) went up 55-44 on a Jesse Edwards dunk just over five minutes after halftime, but went through a 1-for-9 shooting drought to let the Hurricanes (15-3, 6-2) back in the game and gave up seven straight points to lose the lead for good in the final two minutes.
Edwards and Joe Girard III carried the weight for SU in the second half, combining for 30 points after halftime, but it was not enough. Edwards paced all scorers with a career-high 25 points while also grabbing 11 rebounds and Girard finished with 21 points. Benny Williams was the only other Syracuse player to reach double figures in the game, adding 12 points, while Justin Taylor chipped in with eight.
Miami had a more balanced attack, as four players scored between 13 and 16 points. Norchad Omier was a load inside, finishing with 16 points and 16 rebounds. Harlon Beverly also had 16 points for the Canes. Nijel Pack connected on five three-pointers, several from the Hurricanes’ midcourt logo, for 15 points while Jordan Miller had 13 points to go with seven rebounds and seven assists. Isaiah Wong added nine points.
The Hurricanes quickly grabbed an early 11-2 lead on the strength of nine straight points while the Orange were mired in a 1-for-9 shooting start. SU was able to stitch together a pair of 7-2 spurts to crawl back within 18-16 shortly after the midpoint of the first half.
With just under six minutes left in the first half, Syracuse played their best ball of the session, running off nine straight points for a 29-24 lead as three-point-plays from Judah Mintz and Joe Girard sandwiched a three-pointer from Justin Taylor. The Orange maintained control the rest of the half and held a 38-34 advantage at the break.
Edwards keyed the SU offense in the early minutes of the second half, scoring ten of the squad’s 17 points as they needed just over five minutes to balloon their lead to 55-44. The Hurricanes chipped away at the margin, pulling back within three due to a combination of good work at the foul line and a second 1-for-9 cold snap from the Syracuse offense.
Miami threatened to take the lead, but the Orange held on for a few more minutes, getting jumpers from Williams and Girard to stretch a one-point lead back out to 68-63 with five minutes to play. The ‘Canes ran off eight of the next ten points to grab their own one-point lead at 71-70 with just under four minutes remaining.
Taylor connected on a trey to put SU back on top, but Miami responded with seven straight points and the margin never got under a deuce the rest of the way.