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Georgia Tech 73, Syracuse 59: Yellow Jackets hand Orange first ACC loss

In somewhat puzzling fashion, Syracuse falls to GT at home.

NCAA Basketball: Georgia Tech at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse, N.Y. — The Syracuse Orange returned to action at home after its win over Clemson on Wednesday and found itself struggling to defend one of the lesser offenses in the ACC. As a result, Syracuse dropped a home game to Georgia Tech on Saturday night by a final score of 73-59.

As two of the top five defensive teams in the ACC, Syracuse and Georgia Tech both struggled on the offensive end to start the game but the Yellow Jackets were able to have some success inside on the offensive end with James Banks and Abdoulaye Gueye. Those two each scored 10 first half points and boosted Georgia Tech to 50 percent first half shooting.

Jim Boeheim elected to give Paschal Chukwu some run after the senior center didn’t play against Clemson. Chukwu by and large delivered with four rebounds in his first half run, one which led to an Elijah Hughes bucket. The 7-foot-2 big also recorded an assist, block and steal in the first. Buddy Boeheim had a short first half stint and shot 1-2 from downtown. Both he and Chukwu were given a big applause when they checked out.

Georgia Tech made things difficult for Syracuse though as the Orange shot just 32 percent from the floor in the half and 26.3 percent from downtown. Frank Howard was able to hit two from deep while Hughes and Tyus Battle each hit one three each. GT took a 27-26 lead into the break.

NCAA Basketball: Georgia Tech at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Tech stormed out of the gate in the second half and quickly created a 10 point cushion before the first media timeout. A pair of threes and looks at the rim from Tech thereafter pushed the lead to 18 and forced Syracuse to call timeout.

From there, Syracuse threw on the press and applied pressure in the halfcourt, extending the 2-3 zone out and forced a pair of GT turnovers. Buddy Boeheim got extended run in the second half and he connected on a pair of crucial threes that got Syracuse back to within 10.

Georgia Tech punched back, though and was able to get to the free throw line and some easy fast break opportunities to buffer its lead. Syracuse continued to press and created opportunities for itself but when Tech took care of the ball it generated easy offense. As a result, Syracuse never pushed the game back to within single digits and dropped to 2-1 in the league before heading down to Duke.

Final Stats

Jose Alvarado had 21 points for Georgia Tech while Banks had 16. The Yellow Jackets shot 59.5 percent from the floor and 50 percent from three.

Hughes and Oshae Brissett led the way for Syracuse in the scoring column with 12 and 13 points, respectively. Tyus Battle had 11 points, Boeheim had 9 and Howard finished with 8 points, 3 assists and 2 steals.

Syracuse turned the ball over 18 times and shot just 31.6 percent from the floor.

Next Up

Syracuse travels down to Durham to take on Duke on Monday night. That game tips at 7 pm from Cameron Indoor and will air on ESPN. The Blue Devils won at Florida State earlier today on a Cam Reddish game-winning three, which means that Duke will maintain its spot at No. 1 in the AP Poll on Monday.