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2016 NCAA Tournament: Looking at Syracuse's Decisive Offensive Run

While we're talking about the defensive effort from Syracuse's run to the Final Four, the Orange offense stepped up at just the right time.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

There is a lot of discussion today about the Syracuse Orange defense and the full-court pressure that helped change tempo and force Virginia into mistakes that led the Syracuse comeback. What shouldn't be lost in the discussion is the incredible offensive run that Syracuse went on to end yesterday's game.

When London Perrantes buried a deep 3-pointer (his 6th of the game) from the top of the key, pushing the Virginia Cavaliers lead to 54-39, it looked like the dagger to many of us. Virginia was in complete control of the game and appeared well on their way to the Final Four.

That shot did something else though- it seemed to wake up the Orange offense, which had struggled for 30+ minutes against the talented Virginia defense. Those 30 minutes featured a seemingly endless run of drives into the "Pack-Line" defense, which resulted in bodies slamming together and the ball bouncing harmlessly off the rim. However, the last 9:30 of the game was an offensive clinic, so let's dig a little deeper.

In the 2:30 of game time after Perrantes' 3-pointer, Syracuse didn't panic. They refused the temptation to settle for rushed, contested 3-pointers in an attempt to close the gap. What the Orange did was take advantage of Virginia looking to contest the 3-point line, and drove the ball to the basket to get better looks, and trips to the foul line. In this stretch, Syracuse had 6 offensive possession and scored 13 points (2.167 points per possession) against a team allowing only 0.957 points per possession on the season.

As the deficit narrowed, Syracuse kept the pressure on Virginia (literally and figuratively) by scoring points on offense, and being able to set-up the defense. Jim Boeheim credits the ability of the Orange to spread the floor and attack without having to face as much opposition in the lane. By ignoring the screens on the perimeter, Syracuse made it tougher for Virginia to help out on the drives. Syracuse was patient and got better looks, or earned trips to the line that they weren't getting up until this point.

After Tyler Lydon's 3 made it a 58-55 game, the next 3:30 were dominated by Syracuse on both ends of the court. The Orange held Virginia without a point, and scored 9 points on their 4 offensive possessions (2.25 points per possession) to turn the deficit into a 6-point lead. Even though the Syracuse offense slowed over the final stretch, key offensive rebounds, and a lack of turnovers allowed the Orange to maintain their lead and advance to the Final Four.

From the time of Perrantes' final 3-pointer until the 3 minute mark, Syracuse scored 22 points on 10 possessions against one of the best defenses in the country. They missed just one shot, which was immediately rebounded by Malachi Richardson, who scored on his 2nd attempt. The Orange went 3-3 from deep and 4-4 from the line and received contributions from all 5 players on the court during the run. This efficiency enabled the Orange press to have the opportunity to make the impact it did.

You can see the video of this run here: