For the second time this season, Syracuse (12-6, 6-5 Atlantic Coast) defeated Boston College (3-13, 1-9), 75-67 in the Carrier Dome.
While Quincy Guerrier and Marek Dolezaj struggled in the first half, Joe Girard poured in 16 points. After a hot first half, Girard didn’t score in the second half. However, Guerrier and Dolezaj’s play picked up in the final 20 minutes, as all Syracuse starters scored at least 12 points.
Here are three takeaways:
Joe Girard Performance
Joe Girard played his best first half of the season, and he wasn’t just relying on shots from behind the arc. Syracuse’s point guard was consistently driving to the paint when matched up with Boston College’s Rich Kelly. With SU leading 38-33 in the opening 20 minutes, Girard simply backed down Kelly before turning and hitting a bank shot over the 6-foot-1 defender.
After being held under 10 points in four of the past five contests, Girard was extremely efficient, finishing 7-9 from the field in the first half. He also finished with three assists, six rebounds and finished the opening 20 minutes without a turnover.
Targeting Rich Kelly
It seemed pretty clear from the beginning of the game that Syracuse intended to target Boston College guard Rich Kelly’s defense. While Girard hit a couple first half threes, most of his points were scored driving to the hoop with Kelly defending.
When Kelly was forced to guard Kadary Richmond, the lengthy freshman simply drove past, or over Kelly. A couple of times he settled for pull-up jumpers over Kelly. While the shots were open, he was better suited to attack the basket than to force a shot attempt from midrange.
Late Game Issues
Syracuse — after seemingly putting Boston College away — struggled in the final two minutes to maintain possession. Again and again Syracuse (particularly Girard and Buddy Boeheim) turned the ball over in the final minutes.
However, SU was able to hang on because of its free throw shooting. On possessions where the Eagles weren’t able to strip away the ball, SU got the the free throw line and often converted. Syracuse’s final 13 points were all scored on free throws from Quincy Guerrier, Marek Dolezaj and Alan Griffin. As a team, SU finished shooting 18-23 from the charity stripe.