Holy. Man. Oh my. Sorry, twitter broke my computer when Tyler Ennis took the inbound along the near baseline, ran with two guys on him preventing a pass and DRAINED. THE. THREE.
First and foremost, the Syracuse Orange (24-0, 11-0) pull out the two point victory over the Pitt Panthers (20-5, 8-4) 58-56 after trailing most of the night. The Orange rallied from as much as nine down in the second half but hung around thanks to great defense and hustle from everyone on the floor.
The first half of action set the tone. It was ugly, it was called loose and it was classic Pitt basketball at the Pete. Double digits were not hit until just under the thirteen minute mark as both teams slugged out some bad turnovers. Pitt had some great ball movement early getting the ball down low to Talib Zanna with Lamar Patterson providing a distraction everywhere else on the court. By the time the Orange had six rebounds, Zanna had equaled that total himself.
And yet the Orange were still in the game with the deficit never exceeding five points. It was all thanks to "The Silent G" as Michael Gbinije providing a spark off the bench and replacing Ennis at the point for a solid portion of play. Gbinije led all scorers at the half with seven points as the rest of the Orange was held to four points or under.
The second half was all about the stars reasserting themselves. Every one of the Cooneys showed up, whether Trevor Cooney hit the three, Gerry scrambled for the loose balls and Tyler closed out on the wings. Rakeem Christmas was an animal when he needed to. Zanna put together a solid game but a few key blocks and stops and the Orange were never run out of the Pete.
The action was dialed up to eleven at the 1:56 mark when a Zanna tip-in on a Patterson heave put the Panthers up six, 54-48. C.J. was then left alone in the corner (Thanks Lamar!) and drained the baseline three with 1:42. Fair's clutch gene put the Orange within one off a missed three with 52 seconds... and then the free throws happened. Ennis and Zanna traded deuces setting up Ennis' magic. That's when the fat lady finally sung.
A couple of things: The refs were awful, the Orange didn't have a high energy defensive center available and won at the Pete. That's kind of a big deal. Secondly, Pitt's still a rival of sorts. Just accept it. I'm totally ok holding this over their collective heads.
Have a great night everyone.
AUTHOR NOTE: Here's GIF of happy Boeheim via @44.