The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team fell to Virginia Tech by a final score of 67-63 on Tuesday night. The loss moved Jim Boeheim’s team to 8-7 on the season and 1-3 in ACC play.
Syracuse led for a majority of the game (23:36), but allowed Virginia Tech to build its biggest lead of the contest with 6:22 remaining. Freshman Hokie Jalen Cone got going from range, scoring a career-high 19 points and tying a career-high in 3-point makes with five.
Elijah Hughes scored 18 points for Syracuse, but struggled shooting the ball. Buddy Boeheim, Joe Girard and Quincy Guerrier scored in double-figures, but it wasn’t enough to get over the hump as Marek Dolezaj fouled out late. Ultimately, a big Hokie run was the push needed to get by the Orange.
With Odell Beckham Jr. and Syracuse native Latavius Murray in attendance, Syracuse dropped its second straight game in a four day span.
Syracuse has entered full on panic mode. The Orange needed the last two wins over Notre Dame and Virginia Tech to get above water. Syracuse led both of those games at half, but couldn’t find a way to win when it mattered down the stretch.
The Orange entered ACC play with a slim margin for error. After falling to 8-7 on the season, post-season hopes are on life support and The NCAA Tournament is completely out of the picture. At this juncture, Syracuse is hoping to make the NIT or CBI.
The great thing about college basketball is that teams can enter their conference tournament with ambitions of securing an automatic bid. Hope dies last.
But there’s not much faith left for a meaningful Syracuse post-season.
No helping hand
Syracuse came into the night as the best team in the country in assisted field goal percentage (70.2 percent). Against Virginia Tech, Syracuse assisted on only 6 of its 23 made field goals.
Virginia Tech played pressure defense and made it tough on Syracuse’s perimeter players. That resulted in a lot of dribble drives and one-on-one play.
This Syracuse team will have to do a better job creating looks for one another on offense going forward.
Quincy steps up
If there were anything positive to takeaway from Tuesday night’s loss to Virginia Tech, it’s that Quincy Guerrier looks like he’s putting the pieces of the puzzle together. The freshman forward looks ready to take on a larger role with this Syracuse team going forward.
Boeheim said on Monday’s ACC coaches teleconference that Guerrier’s offense and awareness have been better in practice. That showed on Tuesday night to the tune of 12 points and 9 rebounds.