A quick take on Syracuse’s 85-70 against Virginia Tech on Saturday evening:
WHAT HAPPENED: The Hokies nailed 11 3-pointers in the first half and built a 53-32 lead going into halftime. Syracuse would whittle the lead down to 12 in the second half, but couldn’t crack into single digits as the Orange dropped a critical road game. Syracuse’s zone struggled to slow the Hokies, who shot 53 percent from the field and 13-32 from downtown.
ANALYSIS: The window for Syracuse’s NCAA Tournament hopes appears to be shutting quickly. The Orange already came into Saturday’s matchup against the Hokies 0-3 in Quadrant 1 games, and now the loss drops SU to 0-4. At this rate, the Orange will need to win the remainder of its Q1 games on the schedule if it wants to go dancing in March. That includes a home game against No. 7 Virginia on Monday, a Feb. 22 date at No. 24 Clemson and a road game against Pitt on Feb. 25. SU’s home game against Duke could eventually turn into a Q1 game, but the Blue Devils are currently 33 at the moment, and a Q1 win is only awarded for home wins against teams ranked 1-30.
HERO: Judah Mintz scored 21 points and dished out 8 assists while Grant Basile led all scorers with 25.
ZERO: Benny Williams was demoted from the starting lineup in favor of Maliq Brown and missed his only shot of the game. Chris Bell also went scoreless, missing both of his 3-point attempts.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse returns home to play No. 7 Virginia on Monday at 7 p.m. in the JMA Wireless Dome. The Orange narrowly lost to the Cavaliers earlier in January, 73-66, on the road. TV: ESPN.