The basketball team from Syracuse beat Virginia Tech, 71-69, in Cassell Coliseum on Saturday.
Check out some observations against the Hokies from the Orange’s game.
In the NCAA NET rankings Virginia Tech finished the day at No. 34. Which squarely positions this game in the Quadrant of the NCAA 1. Syracuse snapped the three-game winning streak of Virginia Tech, and has now won its next three games.
For the second time this season, Buddy Boeheim scored a career-high 26 points in an ACC road-game. In Syracuse’s victory at Georgia Tech on Dec. 7, Boeheim had set his career-high of 26 points. Boeheim matched that mark with 26 points over Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va on Saturday. The sophomore guard went from the field 10-for-20 and from3-pointers 5-for-13. In the first season, Boeheim keyed the game-changing streak of Syracuse. Syracuse trailed 14-8 and Boeheim still had to score in the first half with 14 minutes left. Then it all changed. Syracuse went on a 20-5 streak, scored 18 of the Orange’s points by Boeheim. In its eruption Boeheim had four 3-pointers.
Syracuse has dominated the paint game this season, a rarity for the Orange. Syracuse had to counter the pressure of man-to-man defense from Virginia Tech with hard drives into the lane and individual moves. Syracuse scored 34 points for Virginia Tech in the paint, to just 12.
With 11 points and 11 rebounds Marek Dolezaj registered his second straight double-double and his third of the season. When Virginia Tech’s Landers Nolley missed a 3-pointer with 4 seconds left, Dolezaj came up with the crucial final rebound. The junior 6-foot-10 played the whole game. He’d gone 5-for-7 with two assists from the field.
It was the first time that Virginia Tech freshman Jalen Cone started his career. Cone, a 5-10 guard, had torched Syracuse at the Carrier Dome on Jan. 7 for 19 points in the Hokies’ 67-63 victory over the Orange. Cone scored 14 of the first half of Virginia Tech’s 28 points. He found the range in the second, with four 3-pointers. Syracuse has done a better job of locating Cone in the second half however. In the final 20 minutes the freshman failed to score.
Syracuse outscored Virginia in the paint but from the 3-point line came the success of the Hokies on offense. Virginia Tech’s field goal attempts for the game made up 36 per cent. But the Hokies were 13-for-28 from 3-point range (46 per cent).
ACC’s second-leading scorer, Elijah Hughes, had trouble finding good shots against Virginia Tech. Hughes managed just four points on 1-for-8 shooting during the first half. Hughes missed three 3-pointers and could not counter pressure coverage from Virginia Tech. Hughes tried to get his opponent back onto the lane but failed to convert to an array of spin movements and turnaround jumpers. Hughes finished the game on 6-for-18 field goal shooting with 17 points. On seven attempts he made only one 3-pointer as the Hokies made it all difficult for him.
Saturday’s game was announced as a sellout by Virginia Tech officials. Well before the arena opened to fans, signs were posted on the windows of the Ticket Will Call indicating the game was sold out. This weekend, students from Virginia Tech came back to campus and the student section was packed, but the Coliseum was not near capacity anywhere. Several sections were empty at the upper areas.
Tidbits: On Saturday, Elijah Hughes hit the 1,000-point milestone of his college career. Hughes ‘ 12 points earn him 1,003 for his career including his East Carolina freshman year. Quincy Guerrier checked Bourama Sidibe into the game in less than four minutes. Guerrier had eight rebounds before heading to the SU bench after picking up his third 5:40 foul remaining halfway through. Nine rebounds were achieved by Guerrier (his career-high is 10). In the first half Howard Washington received a few quality minutes off the bench. In a little over seven minutes Washington had two points, and an assist.