Well that was thrilling at times, terrifying at others, and then thrilling when it mattered most. Despite a very long stretch of less-than-stellar play on both ends, your No. 2-ranked Syracuse Orange defeated the Miami Hurricanes on the road by a score of 64-52. Syracuse is now 19-0 overall and 6-0 in the ACC, while the loss drops Miami to 10-9 overall and 2-5 in the league.
The game started off pretty nicely for Syracuse, who made its first four shots from the field and let Miami shoot from outside all it wanted (to little success). SU was up 26-8 with 7:43 left in the first half and things looked pretty well in hand. Of course, this is Syracuse basketball, though. They don't come easy, and for the rest of this one, it was nothing but a brawl.
First were the turnovers -- five of them in six possessions -- then the Hurricanes started hitting threes just like they did in their earlier loss to the Orange. Things got uncomfortably close when Miami closed the gap to 29-26 with just 38 seconds left in the half, before Rakeem Christmas extended the lead to five just before the buzzer. With time to collect themselves during halftime, the hope was Syracuse could get right back on track on both ends, but instead, they came out as flat as ever. On offense, despite getting solid looks from the floor, the team missed four of its first five shots and Miami was able to pull within two (33-31) by the first TV timeout. SU extended the lead several times over, but the Hurricanes' three-point shooting just kept dragging them back in. The home team finally took the lead at 47-46 with about eight minutes remaining.
But from there, it was all Syracuse. Tyler Ennis, PhD took over as he's wont to do, Trevor decided to join us after allowing one of the other Cooneys to hang around for much of the game's early stages and the Orange finally started hitting free throws. SU closed the game out on a 18-5 run, and ended up winning by 12 points. Don't let that fool you, though. This was an incredibly tough game. yet Syracuse pulled through valiantly.
Some additional and individual notes from this one:
- After starting hot from the floor (4-for-5), C.J. Fair missed five straight shots before closing out the game 1-for-2. It wasn't C.J.'s best game from the looks of it, but he still finished with a line of 15 points, 7 rebounds and three assists -- which just goes to show how much we take him for granted sometimes.
- Tyler Ennis came out of the gate like a bat out of hell, and made two huge free throws toward the end. He finished with 12 points (on 5-for-11 shooting) plus four assists and five boards. All of those assists were confined to the first half, which starts to explain the offensive drought.
- Rakeem Christmas and his glorious sky hook were out in force early on, but he didn't see the court much in the second half after picking up two quick fouls. Baye Keita, aka "Hands O'Stone" played the lion's share of second-half minutes at center, with mixed results on both ends (some very good, others, not so much).
- To those (myself included) who have been curious about substitutions lately: Roberson and Gbinije got some burn in the first half when SU was up 18, but then that's about when shit hit the fan. The two combined for a handful of minutes, one turnover, one foul, one steal and one rebound.
- Miami shot 9-for-17 from three -- and that was WITH missing three of their first four. Many of these were from deep range, which sounds excusable on paper, but could be disconcerting as it's become a common theme.
- Syracuse struggled from the free throw line (17-for-27), though made them late when it counted. That's better than nothing. So thanks, guys!
- Syracuse also owned the glass. Overall they out-rebounded Miami 39-25 (Jerami Grant led with eight of those), while nabbing 14 offensive boards to the Hurricanes' five. And yet we only won by 12...
Lastly, wanted to recognize excellence in the field of commenting from what was a very active (and anxious) game thread today. A grand total of 1,285 comments for a mid-day Saturday basketball game is nice work, and everyone here at TNIAAM thanks you for your readership and dedication. Below, you'll find a list of the top commenters from the thread, a well as the most-rec'd comments.
We're 19-0, folks! It feels good. Go enjoy the rest of your Saturdays -- either in the comments below or with your loved ones who have likely missed you very much during the last couple hours.
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