After a 31 hour delay due to the snow storm that rocked seemingly everywhere on the east coast spare Central New York, Syracuse and Virginia got underway at John Paul Jones Arena.
Syracuse started out antithetical in its approach by scoring its first four field goals right at the rim. The team's first three came at the 11:33 mark; Malachi Richardson buried a triple off a Franklin Howard assist which tied the game at 14. Richardson continued to shoot and knocked down three triples in the first half.
Virginia owned the paint and punished Syracuse inside. The Cavaliers had 20 points in the paint in the first half and shot 57.7 percent. Virginia limited Syracuse on the offensive glass giving the Orange little opportunity for second chance points.
Syracuse tightened its defense in the second half and forced Virginia to turn the ball over on its first four possessions. Virginia only averages 9 turnovers per game but Syracuse forced them into 13 turnovers, 10 coming in the second half.
The Orange battled back from a 10 point deficit and eventually tied the game at 47 when Tyler Roberson rebounded a Trevor Cooney miss for a put-back. Down the stretch Richardson hit a huge triple when Virginia was up seven and Cooney followed up his triple with a three of his own to cut Virginia's lead to three with under four minutes to play.
Ultimately Virginia was too strong down the stretch. London Perrantes drilled a corner three, he finished a tough drive at the rim and an Anthony Gill throw down stretched Virginia's lead to nine. Michael Gbinije came down and drilled a three to cut the lead to six. Syracuse then picked up full court, forcing Virginia into a turnover. Richardson knocked down another three on the ensuing possession to cut the lead to three but those would be the last Syracuse points of the night.
Virginia made its free throws in the final two minutes and outlasted Syracuse 73-65. The Hoos shot 58.1 percent from the floor and out rebounded the Orange by three. The win improved Virginia's record to 14-0 at home. Richardson and Gbinije led Syracuse with 23 and 24 points respectively. Syracuse now takes on Notre Dame at home on Thursday. That game will air on ESPN2.
Virginia is tough at home, but we all know the real reason behind the loss. It's time, Sean.
I'll pack my bags.— Sean Keeley (@SeanKeeleyIsMe) January 25, 2016