Instant Juice: Syracuse 80, Georgia Tech 63

Boeheim Georgia Tech
Jan. 21, 2023; Atlanta, GA, USA; Syracuse Orange head coach Jim Boeheim addresses reporters following a 80-63 win over Georgia Tech at the McCamish Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Mark Turcotte, The Juice Online.

A quick take on Syracuse’s impressive 80-63 win against Georgia Tech on Saturday afternoon at McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta:

WHAT HAPPENED: On a day in which audible chants of “Let’s Go Orange” could be heard on an opponents home court, the Yellow Jackets raced out to a fast start early in the first half with an 11 point lead, before Joe Girard (playing all 40 minutes) personally brought the Orange back with his long distance shooting, nailing 4-of-5 three-pointers for 18 first half points and a seven point ‘Cuse halftime lead.  Syracuse (13-7, 6-3) led by as many as 13 in the second half before one final Tech run was thwarted by good Syracuse defense and the passing wizardry of Judah Mintz (six assists).  Mintz assisted on several key SU baskets in the final six minutes to keep Tech at bay, and also contributed 13 points.

ANALYSIS: As the Syracuse zone defense stiffened the Orange maintained their second half lead.  Georgia Tech (8-11, 1-8) went cold from long distance after halftime finishing 10-of-31 from beyond the arc, while SU scored from both the outside (Girard) and inside down low from Jesse Edwards (14 points), and Maliq Brown (18 points).  SU scored 44 points in the paint, and forced Tech into 16 turnovers resulting in 24 Orange points.  In his consistently inconsistent rotation of players at the small forward spot, Jim Boeheim opted for Quadir Copeland for the most playing time on this day.  Copeland saw 17 minutes of action finishing with a modest two points and six rebounds but provided plenty of spark.

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HERO: Girard was simply marvelous.  Coming into the game averaging 19.8 points for the five January games previously played, Girard was just a basket short of hitting that number in the first half, finishing with a game-high 28 points, a co-game high seven assists, and five rebounds.  It was the eighth time Girard’s scored 20 or more points in the 20 games played so far this season.  Brown had the best game of his freshman season finishing with the career high 18 points on 8-of-9 shooting and four boards.

ZERO: Benny Williams returned to Boeheim’s doghouse being yanked from the game early in both halves, playing just eight minutes with one point and three rebounds. Chris Bell struggled offensively finishing with just two made free throws and sitting out most of the second half.

WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse returns home to face one of the ACC’s name brands, defending national runners-up North Carolina Tuesday night at the Dome.  Last season UNC beat SU 88-79 in Chapel Hill, and the Orange is 0nly 3-11 against the Tar Heels in ACC play dating back to 2014, with two of the wins coming in the Dome.  North Carolina (13-6, 5-3) hosted N.C. State later Saturday afternoon.  Game Time: 9:00 p.m. ET. TV: ESPN.

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About Brad Bierman 848 Articles
Now in his sixth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.