Things looked dire for the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team when it turned the ball over to Buffalo with less than 10 seconds to play. With the score tied at 87 and the Bulls off the races, junior forward Alan Griffin made a game-saving block that allowed Syracuse to earn a win in overtime.
Following a turnover with the game clock winding down, Buffalo pushed the ball ahead in transition to senior guard Jayvon Graves. Buddy Boeheim tried to intercept the outlet, but Graves did his best Stefon Diggs impression and hauled in the pass over the defense. He took one dribble, rose to the rim for a dunk only to have his shot rejected by Syracuse’s Alan Griffin who was trailing the play.
The block gave Syracuse extra life, allowing the Orange to edge UB in extra time. After the game Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim remarked that it was one of the best plays he’s seen in the Carrier Dome.
“Alan’s block is one of the best plays I’ve ever seen in here. It was an incredible play to save the game,” Boeheim said.
When Griffin was made aware of Boeheim’s comment, the junior transfer from Illinois said it was a great compliment to hear that from a legendary coach.
The play never should’ve happened though, at least in terms of what Syracuse was looking to do on offense out of the timeout. Boeheim wanted to put the ball in the hands of his senior Marek Dolezaj and have him make a play on offense.
“We wanted Marek to have the ball as he has had it the whole game, and to make a play out of there and he slipped. The best plays sometimes don’t work,” Boeheim divulged.
Dolezaj turned the ball over and it looked as if the Bulls would run away with the game. Buddy Boeheim was seemingly the last line of defense as he tried to break up the long pass, but through the reach of Graves’ outstretched hands he couldn’t corral it.
“I almost had the pass,” Buddy Boeheim said. “Once it flew over my head I was like ‘Dang, like he’s probably going to score this.’ AG just came out of nowhere. I’ve never seen a block like that before.”
Griffin made the play out of desperation, saying the game was on the line and it was either win or go home.
“I felt like that was a play that I could make and I didn’t want to let my teammates down. I let them down the previous game and I just had to bounce back. They had my back. I couldn’t do nothing but give it back,” Griffin finished.
“He made an unbelievable play and it saved the game,” Boeheim summarized.
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