One of the worst games of the year ends in a Syracuse overtime upset of No.18 Virginia. 63-55 was the final score in SU’s sloppy win. Just one week ago the Orange put up 87 points against Notre Dame inside the Dome. Today, instead of offense, defense was showcased. The Cavaliers shot just 21-67 from the field and 7-31 from three-point range. No doubt the SU defense bailed them out in this game, but it wasn’t the only thing to focus on.
A Huge Win for Tournament Implications
If any Syracuse fans out there still think this team can limp into the tournament, their arguments just got a lot better. A win away from the dome against the No.18 defending nationals champions sounds pretty good. It wasn’t the best game of basketball ever played, but every win for a struggling team like this is important. Now with 2 ACC wins and possibly some momentum under their belts Syracuse could shock the world and win some games they just have absolutely no business winning.
Showing Up When it Matters
When the game reached overtime, Syracuse left their regulation performance behind and played to an entirely different tune. The Orange scored 20 points in the OT period, more than they did in the entire second half (19). That’s some hope for Orange fans. They can trust that this team has the ability to turn it on when they really need to. The regulation period was upsetting, OT was an entirely different squad.
Ice Cold Stars
Elijah Hughes didn’t play well, 7-20 from the field 18 points was far from a good performance. However, what’s worse, his stat line was one of the team’s best. Buddy Boeheim was effectively absent. The coach’s son made just 5 of his 17 shot attempts, and just 3 of his 10 shots from behind the arc. Girard wasn’t much better, he led the team with 19 points, but he did so missing the majority of 11 threes. There’s been discussion about how it’s hard to win games when only one of these guys is producing, how about when none of them are. Somehow, the Orange get out of Charlottesville with a win, but against any team in the country with any sort of steady offensive production this same performance won’t hold up.
No Presence Under the Basket
As Orange fans have thought for weeks, it’s time for Jesse Edwards. Bourama Sidibe proved once again that he isn’t good enough to start for this team. In the second half, UVA outrebounded SU by 7. Sidibe’s 9 rebounds were helpful to the Orange cause, but foul trouble plagued him. He hit the 3 foul mark before the end of the first half and fouled out with over 6 minutes left in the second, leaving Marek Dolzej, who also had 4 fouls, to man the middle. It’s obvious that the biggest hole in the Orange lineup is at the center position and the answer could be sitting on the bench wearing number 14. If Edwards was gifted some more minutes he could develop and possibly provide what the Syracuse lineup needs most.
After this win it’s more unpredictable than ever how this team will turn out. One thing at least is certain, this team has heart, heart it showcased in an overtime victory against the best defense in the country.