Coming into tonight's contest against Virginia Tech, Syracuse was ranked 13th in the country in three-point field goal percentage defense. The Orange are holding opponents to 29.9 percent shooting from outside and yet Virginia Tech came into the Carrier Dome and knocked down three of its first four shots from long range.
Justin Bibbs -- who scored 19 and 22 points on Syracuse last season -- and Seth Allen combined to hit three of Virginia Tech's first three threes. The Orange found itself in a quick 9-2 hole but bounced back behind the play of Michael Gbinije and Tyler Roberson. Syracuse was able to cut into Virginia Tech's lead but the Hokies continued its impressive shooting throughout the half.
Virginia Tech went into halftime having shot 45.5 percent from outside whereas Syracuse was an abysmal 14.3 percent which was actually elevated by a Tyler Lydon made three just before the buzzer sounded. Trevor Cooney had a rough first half by going 0-6 from the floor, 0-5 from three and 0-3 from the free throw line. Despite its poor shooting, Syracuse went into the half only trailing 30-24.
The second half was played close with both teams exchanging baskets in a back-and-forth affair. Down by seven with less than two minutes to go, the Orange looked dead in the water. It wasn't until a corner three from Malachi Richardson that the Orange would make things interesting. Richardson then drove the lane on the next possession and found Lydon inside for a jam. Suddenly, Syracuse was just down two with 1:01 to play.
Syracuse then fouled Justin Bibbs on the next possession and he'd make one of two from the line. On the ensuing Syracuse possession Gbinije pulled up from the top of the key and buried a clutch three to tie the game. Syracuse stopped the Hokies on the next play and Richardson had shot to tie the game that went begging off the rim.
Gbinije started overtime with a jumper to give Syracuse an early lead. Kerry Blackshear tied the game on the next possession but Cooney answered with a deep three to give Syracuse back the lead. Cooney then stole the ball on the next play that led to a Lydon dunk. From then Syracuse never looked back. The Orange won 68-60.
Syracuse will now get a bit of a break until it faces Florida State on on February 11th. That game tips at 7 p.m. and will air on ESPN. Get some rest, Syracuse.