Syracuse basketball (8-7, 1-3 ACC) seeks to snap a two-game losing streak when it visits the No. 18 Virginia Cavaliers (11-3, 3-1 ACC) on Saturday afternoon. The Orange have lost two very winnable games in a row, and while their ACC schedule is not as daunting as it could be, you have to win games at home, which they have not done thus far.
Finding their footing after the stumbling start against the Cavaliers, the Orange average 73.7 points and almost 10 made 3-pointers per game.
Head coach Tony Bennett of the Virginia Cavaliers. "[Syracuse] made some tough shots and we had some breakdowns".
The upset of the Cavaliers improved Syracuse's record to 9-7 overall and 2-3 in the ACC.
"That's tough to come back from", Jay Huff admitted of the 3-point barrage. Most of that is probably due to Virginia's stellar defense.
Buddy Boeheim added a jumper in the lane and then a long, desperation 3-pointer to beat the shot clock that banked in and rolled home to put things out of reach, all right in front of his father, Jim, who watched in amazement from the sideline.
The shots were similar to ones they'd missed in regulation, coach Boeheim said, with the only difference being that in the overtime, they went in. "If we had another shooter to come in it would be different". Virginia is the best defense in the country, allowing just 47.6 points per game.
The long bombs spoiled another Virginia second-half comeback. After a timeout stop, Hughes missed a 3-pointer with 33 seconds left.
Buddy Boeheim answered with another big 3 from the corner to put the pressure back on the Cavaliers.
Diakite had 13 points and eight rebounds, and Clark also had 13 points, nine assists and six rebounds, but Clark was 4-for-14 from the floor, and missed eight of his last nine shots, including the potential game-winner at the end of regulation.
Diakite briefly gave the 'Hoos an overtime edge, 45-43, with a basket 25 seconds in, but it was all Orange from there.
Virginia had a rough go of it at Boston College and its offense continues to be brutal to do no favors to what is still the top-ranked defense nationally in terms of adjusted efficiency.
Joe Girard added 19 points and Elijah Hughes 18 for Syracuse.
Syracuse hit its first four shots in the extra period, the first three from 3-point territory, and scored 20 points in the period after managing just 19 in the second half. They're just going to need the likes of Key, Kihei Clark and star forward Mamadi Diakite, in particular, to be able to be efficient in getting points on the board. Key had 7 points and team-highs of 11 rebounds and 4 steals. The Orange found themselves in a risky position as Dolezaj and Sidibe faced foul trouble with four each, allowing Virginia to turn on the jets and jump on an 8-0 run to go ahead 31-30 close to the 14-minute mark.
Virginia is back on the road in ACC play on Wednesday, Jan. 15 at Florida State.
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