In front of a crowd that featured SU legends Carmelo Anthony and Dave Bing, and a few recruiting targets, the Orange were cold on offense and couldn’t stop UVA’s interior scoring.
The first points of the game came when Bourama Sidibe made a layup off a feed from Jalen Carey at the 18:12 mark. Both teams traded misses until Braxton Key converted a lay-in for the Cavaliers’ first two points of the game with 16:00 left. From there, Virginia steadily scored from inside, mounting its largest lead of the half at 13-2 with 9:28 left. The Orange couldn’t get shots to fall from anywhere until the 9:12 mark when Hughes made SU’s first jumpshot of the game, hitting a three-pointer to make it 13-5 in favor of Virginia.
The Orange cut into the Cavaliers’ lead and kept pace with them for the rest of the half, mainly through a lineup featuring Joe Girard III, Buddy Boeheim, Elijah Hughes, Guerrier, and Dolezaj.
But Syracuse still couldn’t handle Virginia inside in the first half, with Mamadi Diakite (eight points) and Huff (seven points) doing the majority of the damage and leading the way offensively for the Cavaliers.
SU’s last points of the half came with 1:22 left on a Girard three-pointer that hit the back iron, shot directly upward, and then fell back down into the cylinder. That made the score 23-19 in favor of Virginia before Diakite converted a layup with 21 seconds left and Girard missed a last-second pull-up two-pointer to send the Cavaliers into intermission up 25-19.
Syracuse, led by Elijah Hughes with seven points, shot 7-27 (25.9 percent) from the field in the first half, including 3-14 (21.4 percent) from the three-point line. The Orange also made just 2-5 from the free-throw line. Virginia shot 11-24 (45.8 percent) from the field in the first half. Nearly all of their scoring came inside the paint, though, as the Cavaliers shot an even worse 2-12 (16.7 percent) from three-point range. Virginia also controlled the rebounding game in the first half, pulling down 25 to Syracuse’s 10. But the Cavaliers also committed 10 turnovers to the Orange’s three.
Jay Huff scored inside at the 19:02 mark for Virginia’s first two points of the second half, and the Orange didn’t score until Buddy Boeheim hit a jump-shot in the lane with 17:20 left. But Virginia responded right away with a three-pointer by Kihei Clark on the other end to make it 30-21.
The Cavaliers kept attacking the Orange inside, but the Orange responded with two three-pointers from Elijah Hughes, the second one coming with 11:20 left in the game and making the score 35-27 in favor of Virginia.
But with two short jumpers by Diakite and three-pointer by Kody Stattmann, UVA extended its lead to 42-27 with 8:35 left in the game, prompting Jim Boeheim to call a timeout. The Cavaliers didn’t look back from there, and coasted to a 48-34 win.
The Orange dropped their first game of the season and have a losing record for the first time since losing at home to Charlotte on Nov. 26, 2003.
Syracuse also falls to 0-1 in ACC play, with its next conference game coming at Georgia Tech on Dec. 8.
Syracuse shot 13-55 (23.6 percent) from the field, including 5-29 (17.2 percent) from three-point range. Elijah Hughes led the Orange with 14 points, followed by Buddy Boeheim with seven points.
Virginia made 20 of 49 field goals (40.8 percent) and 4 of 24 (16.7 percent) from three-point range. Diakite was the leading scorer for the Cavaliers with 12 points, followed by Huff with 11 and Clark with 10. The Cavaliers also out-rebounded the Orange 47-28.
The Orange will look to get their first win of the season in a week when the Colgate Raiders come to the Dome on Wednesday, Nov. 13. That game tips at 7:00 p.m.