The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team earned its third straight victory as SU took down Virginia Tech by a final score of 71-69 in Blacksburg. The win moved the team to 11-7 and 4-3 in the ACC.
In doing so, Syracuse secured its second quadrant one victory of the season behind Buddy Boeheim’s (tied) career-high 26 points and clutch plays from Elijah Hughes late.
Virginia Tech started the game with an early lead, but the Orange fought back behind the play of Boeheim. Syracuse went on a 22-5 run in the first half fueled by the sophomore and effort from the bench. Quincy Guerrier checked into the game after Jim Boeheim supplanted Bourama Sidibe with his freshman forward. Marek Dolezaj moved to center.
Guerrier scored right away, and Howard Washington connected on a jumper shortly thereafter. After the Syracuse bench scored, the younger Boeheim caught fire. He went on a tear by scoring 18 straight points for Syracuse. The sophomore guard started the run with a triple at the 13-minute mark and bookended it with a triple on an extra pass from Howard Washington. In total, he connected on four 3s, three pull-up jumpers and a drive and finish at the rim through the run.
The younger Boeheim’s run, plus a Dolezaj floater followed by a steal and transition bucket by Girard, gave Syracuse a 36-20 lead.
Guerrier had 8 rebounds through the stretch, while Howard Washington provided good minutes off the bench. Virginia Tech was able to go on an 8-0 to end the half, however, but Syracuse went into the break holding a 36-28 lead.
After the intermission, Virginia Tech fought back make it a competitive contest.
The Hokies came out firing with Nahiem Alleyne and Landers Nolley hitting back to back 3s. A wide open Wabissa Bede, a 17 percent 3-point shooter, made his tenth three of the season at at the top of the key to cut Syracuse’s lead to single-digits at 49-40. Another Alleyne triple right after cut Syracuse’s lead to six.
Both teams traded buckets for a stretch, and the game was close for the remainder of the contest. Virginia Tech was never able to take the lead, but it was able to cut Syracuse’s margin.
While he struggled for much of the contest, Elijah Hughes came on late. At the under eight minute media timeout, Hughes backed down Bede to get Syracuse a four point lead. He missed the free throw and Virginia Tech scored on the ensuing possession, but Hughes then hit a pull up in space which gave Syracuse 57-53 lead.
Guerrier followed that up with a drive and finish, plus a foul, and Hughes hit a deep three which gave Syracuse some separation. Still, Virginia Tech fought back to make it a tight game. Another deep ball from Alleyne cut Syracuse’s lead to 66-63. Horn followed that play with a finish from a baseline cut to make the game 66-65.
On Syracuse’s next play, Hughes found Dolezaj inside, who muscled a shot over the rim to get the lead back to three. Alleyne answered though, with a pull up on the next play to cut it back to one.
Hughes was resilient in crunch time and he answered with a floater off the glass that gave Syracuse a 70-67 lead. Once again Virginia Tech scored to keep things close, however. Hughes missed a tough, contested, pull up two with under 15 seconds remaining and Virginia Tech had the last possession of the game.
The Hokies hurried the ball up court and Mike Young called timeout. Oddly, Nolley came out of the timeout and shot an errant deep ball that missed off the backboard.
What was Landers Nolley doing here? pic.twitter.com/eEDJH9yICb— James Szuba (@JamesSzuba) January 18, 2020
Dolezaj grabbed the rebound, was fouled and made 1-of-2. After the second, a Nolley full court heave was off and Syracuse earned the win.
Buddy Boeheim led all scorers with 26 points on 5-13 shooting from deep. His 26 points tied a career-high, a feat he achieved earlier this season at Georgia Tech.
Hughes finished with 17 points and 7 rebounds. Marek Dolezaj had his second consecutive double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Guerrier finished with 5 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals.
Syracuse will travel to South Bend, Indiana, on Wednesday to take on Notre Dame. That game tips at 7:00 p.m. ET and will air on ESPN2.