On one of the weirdest, most shocking days in recent sports history, Syracuse did a little bit of both Wednesday night.
Against all odds and all analysis, SU came out and rolled over North Carolina 81-53 in the second round of the ACC Tournament in Greensboro. It’s first win against the Tar Heels in the last 10 meetings.
In what may go down as the last sports game for a while, the Orange fans in attendance were treated to by far the best performance of the year from Syracuse.
Elijah Hughes proved why he led the conference in scoring and deserved more hype all year long. The All-ACC first teamer finished with 27 points and a +30!
Quincy Guerrier turned in a strong performance off the bench and even attempted a three pointer, his first since January 28th against Clemson, although it missed. Marek Dolezaj made some key plays early, finishing with 13 points. Afterwards Boeheim said it was a point of emphasis to get him isolated on the UNC bigs early.
The most surprising thing, perhaps, was the rebounding battle. North Carolina, one of the best rebounding teams in the country, only won the rebounding battle by four over Syracuse, one of the worst rebounding teams in the ACC.
Everything was clicking for Syracuse from the opening whistle. Hughes came out like he did at Georgia Tech and took the majority Carolina crowd out of it. But, it wasn’t just him.
Guerrier turned in one of his best games in a while with 7 points and 9 rebounds. Bourama Sidibe caught some alley-oops and made free throws en route to scoring 12 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.
Sidibe’s resurgence has been so big. Not only for this year, but also just for the natural outlook of this program going forward.
On the other side, Cole Anthony, who dominated SU with 26 points at the dome, tallied five points tonight. He went 1-6 from three after going 7-11 from downtown inside the Dome. North Carolina as a team shot it just 2/16 (13%) from the three point line. Just a couple weeks after shooting it 11/26 (42%) at the dome.
No one fouled out, Syracuse made some threes and defended the threes. All things they haven’t been doing.
With the ACC announcing its decision to cancel the tourney and also suspend all athletics, this is likely it for Syracuse in 2019-20. An 18-14 final record, which included highlights like the overtime win at Virginia and this ACC tourney blowout and many lowlights.
It’s likely it for Hughes, who turned 22 last night, and should be a second round draft pick if he chooses to leave.
Who knows what would’ve happened in a fan-less gym against three seed Louisville on Thursday night. It’s hard to process all this right now. That game we all watched or followed last night will likely be the last sports game for weeks, maybe even months.
Sports are such an outlet. Such a joy to so many. Obviously they rightfully take a backseat right now. However, considering how scary this has been, it’s pretty cool Syracuse could give its fans some much needed happiness last night.