The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team needed overtime to beat the Buffalo Bulls 107-96 on Saturday inside the Carrier Dome. After trailing by as many as 16, Syracuse came back with the press in the second half and had a chance to win the game in regulation with possession and the score knotted at 87.
The Orange designed a play for Marek Dolezaj with 13.4 seconds left, but a turnover plagued Syracuse as the Bulls began a fast-break in the opposite direction. If not for a game-saving block by junior forward Alan Griffin, Syracuse was looking at a loss and 5-2 start to the season. But Griffin chased down Jayvon Graves of Buffalo for some late game heroics.
Syracuse outlasts Buffalo in OT to improve to 6-1. The Orange outscored the Bulls 20-7 in overtime.— Cooper Boardman (@cooperkboardman) December 20, 2020
This Alan Griffin block at the end of regulation saved the night for SU (@corey_spector5/@WAERSports on the call). Also Griffin’s fourth 20 point game of the year. @CitrusTVSports pic.twitter.com/ge4OZoXQfR
With that, the Orange took advantage in extra time to secure the win.
To the takeaways.
Zone needs work
Buffalo came out strong from the opening tip as the Bulls dissected the 2-3 zone for open looks along the baseline. UB got the looks it wanted against Syracuse without much difficulty and jumped out to a double digit lead. Buffalo also outmuscled Syracuse inside without Bourama Sidibe and tied SU for points in the paint (58).
Syracuse showed press in the second half and the zone tightened up down the stretch with Kadary Richmond in, but the zone as a whole needs work. Buffalo is a good basketball team to be sure, but Syracuse allowed the Bulls to shoot 49.4% from the floor and 40.9% from distance.
Three point disparity
The Buffalo perimeter defense was stifling throughout the game, forcing Syracuse’s shooters off the 3-point line and to make plays off the dribble. As such, Syracuse didn’t get many looks from outside and the ones it got weren’t exactly high quality. The Orange missed all seven attempts from the range in the first half.
Syracuse finished the night 3-19 from downtown after going 2-18 earlier in the week against Northeastern. Meanwhile, Buffalo shot 9-22 (40.9%) from deep.
Credit Syracuse for winning these games, but the scout is out on the Orange and the team will need to do a better job creating open looks from outside. Quincy Guerrier can’t lead this team in 3-point shooting if Syracuse is going to be successful over the long haul.
It’s hard to imagine where Syracuse would’ve been without the play of Quincy Guerrier in this game, or the season for that matter. Griffin was the headliner with his block, but Guerrier was the star throughout.
The sophomore from Montreal finished with 27 points and 11 rebounds, good for his fourth double-double of the season. He leads the team in both scoring and rebounding and he leads the ACC in double-doubles.
Guerrier has also shot the ball respectably from outside this season, including his 2-5 effort against the Bulls. The Orange need him night in and night out.