On Saturday afternoon, the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team beat the Pittsburgh Panthers 69-61 for its fifth-straight win.
Jim Boeheim’s starters remained the same: Joe Girard III, Buddy Boeheim, Elijah Hughes, Marek Dolezaj, and Bourama Sidibe.
The game started with blocks at the rim on the first two possessions, first by Sidibe on Pittsburgh’s Eric Hamilton and then by Hamilton on Dolezaj. Following a floater by Dolezaj and a 3-point play by Buddy Boeheim, the Orange led 5-0 at the 17:21 mark. Pitt scored its first point on the second of two free throw attempts by Terrell Brown.
Coming out of the first media timeout with 15:44 left in the first half, the Panthers’ Trey McGowens hit two free throws to make it 5-3. Having missed its first seven field goals of the game, Pitt then scored on its next possession on a dunk by Brown to even the score.
But SU responded with a 7-0 run that included a 2-point jumper and 3-pointer by Buddy Boeheim and a lay-in by Sidibe. At the second media timeout with 11:54 left in the game, the Orange led 12-5.
After a layup by Gerald Drumgoole, SU scored on two 3-point plays by Dolezaj and Quincy Guerrier and then a layup by Buddy Boeheim to go up 20-7, prompting a timeout by Pitt with 9:52 left in the first half.
Syracuse held Pitt to just 3 points over the next six minutes while scoring 10 of its own, including two 3-pointers by Buddy Boeheim. Pitt then answered with an 11-0 run that included its first two 3-pointers of the game, cutting Syracuse’s lead to 30-21 with 45 seconds left in the first half. During that run, Girard, shooting the front end of a one-and-one at the 1:19 mark, missed his third free throw of the season, and his first since Dec. 28 vs. Niagara. But he scored with 34 seconds left in the half to put SU up 32-21 entering intermission.
Syracuse shot 37.5 percent from the field in the first half while Pitt made 23.1 percent of its shots. The Orange out-rebounded the Panthers 27-16. Buddy Boeheim led the Orange with 18 points.
Syracuse and Pittsburgh opened the second half with back-and-forth scoring. At the second media timeout of the half, the Orange led 46-35 with 11:33 left in the game, each team having scored 14 points and only one 3-pointer (by Buddy Boeheim) between the two.
Syracuse held Pitt to just 3 points over the next three minutes, growing its lead to 53-38 with 8:23 left. That run also included a 3-pointer by Girard, SU’s first not by Buddy Boeheim. But Pitt wouldn’t go away, and went on an 18-6 run to cut SU’s lead to 59-56 on a jumper by Brown with 2:45 left in the game. Coach Boeheim then called a timeout.
Hughes scored a short jumper out of the timeout, and then Champagnie hit two free-throws after a foul called on Hughes that put it back to a one-possession game. On SU’s next possession, though, Dolezaj gathered an offensive rebound and laid it in for a 5-point lead with 1:41 left.
Pitt didn’t score again until Xaiver Johnson threw an alley-oop layup to Champagnie to make it 63-60 with 33 seconds left. Out of the inbounds, Dolezaj, struggling to find a teammate open, lobbed a pass past half-court to Hughes, who then threw down a one-handed slam and put SU up 65-60.
Guerrier fouled Johnson with 18 seconds left, but Johnson missed the second of two free throws. Dolezaj then hit two free throws to put the Orange up 67-61, and then a steal by Girard and subsequent free throws sealed the win for Syracuse, 69-61.
Syracuse shot 43.6 percent from the field, and Pittsburgh 38.9 percent. Both teams shot 5-21 (23.8 percent) from 3. Buddy Boeheim led all scorers with 21 points. Justin Champagnie scored 14 for Pittsburgh.
Syracuse, still undefeated on the road in conference play, will visit Clemson on Tuesday, Jan. 28. That game tips at 7 p.m and will be available for streaming on ACCNX.