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NC State 79, Syracuse 74: Joe Girard III’s career-high 30 not enough for the Orange without Elijah Hughes

The Orange failed to pick up a win against a fellow bubble team. 

NCAA Basketball: N.C. State at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team lost to the N.C. State Wolfpack 79-74 on Tuesday night.

Once again, Jim Boeheim’s starters were Joe Girard III, Buddy Boeheim, Elijah Hughes, Marek Dolezaj, and Bourama Sidibe.

NBA scouts from the Los Angeles Clippers, Portland Trail Blazers, and the San Antonio Spurs were in attendance.

After a foul by Braxton Beverly on Syracuse’s first offensive possession, Buddy Boeheim hit a 3-pointer out of the inbounds off a pass from Dolezaj. N.C. State scored its first points on its third possession on a layup by D.J. Funderburk. Girard III responded with a mid-range jumper to put the Orange up 5-2 two minutes into the game.

At the 17:27 mark, Hughes left the game with a lower body injury. Dressed in his warmups and with a bag of ice, he sat on the bench next to Coach Boeheim for the remainder of the game.

With Hughes out and Coach Boeheim switching around SU’s lineup, N.C. State outscored SU 18-6 over the next eight minutes to go up 20-11. But the Orange, with Quincy Guerrier subbed in for Hughes, responded with a 15-3 run to gain a 26-23 lead at the 5:27 mark. This was led by Girard III, who had eight points during this span.

SU and N.C. State went back and forth the rest of the half, with the Orange getting most of their points inside and at the free throw line while N.C. State’s scoring was led by three 3-pointers. The Wolfpack entered the half up 39-35.

Syracuse shot 34.3% from the field in the first half and went 2-11 (18.2%) from the perimeter. Girard III scored 14 points. The Wolfpack shot 52% and hit 6-14 (42.9%) from 3-point range. C.J. Bryce had 12 points.

NCAA Basketball: N.C. State at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

N.C. State went up 44-37 early in the second half after Devon Daniels hit a 3 at the 18:17 mark. Once again, though, the Orange didn’t let the game slip away and tied it up at 46 in less than two minutes behind Guerrier and Girard III.

With 16:03 left in the second half, Sidibe picked up his fourth foul, and Jesse Edwards subbed into the game. Girard III continued his aggressiveness and led SU over the next 10 minutes, attacking the paint and scoring eight points. His two free throws with 6:16 left in the game gave him 26 points and broke his previous career high of 24. They also put SU up 68-62.

The Orange’s lead didn’t last long, though. N.C. State answered with a 15-2 run that included three 3-pointers to lead 77-70 with 2:35 left. Girard III’s two free throws cut the lead to 78-74 at the 1:37 mark. A free throw miss and lane violation by N.C. State gave the Orange a chance to get even closer in the final minute, but Dolezaj committed a turnover. Daniels’ made free throw with 36 seconds left was the final scoring of the game, as Girard III and Edwards missed SU’s final shots.

Final Stats

Syracuse shot 39.1% from the field and 3-18 (16.7%) from 3. Girard III led with a career-high 30 points, and Guerrier had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. N.C. State shot 52.1% from the field and 11-25 (44%) from 3. Devon Daniels had 23 points, and C.J. Bryce had 19.

Up Next

The Orange will face No. 8 Florida State in Tallahassee on Saturday. That game tips at noon and will be available on ESPN 2.