The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team beat the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 79-72 on Saturday afternoon. This was despite trailing by 11 points at the half and GT’s Moses Wright scoring 33 points.
Coach Jim Boeheim’s starters were Joe Girard III, Buddy Boeheim, Elijah Hughes, Marek Dolezaj, and Bourama Sidibe.
Syracuse opened the game up 4-2 at the 17:47 mark following two lay-ins by Sidibe and Quincy Guerrier. But the Yellow Jackets quickly went up 17-9 four minutes later behind efficient scoring inside and from the perimeter, as well as a rebounding advantage. A 3-pointer by Michael Devoe made it 20-9 with 11 minutes left in the first half.
SU, however, cut the Yellow Jackets’ lead to 22-16 on a 3 by Girard III at the 8:43 mark. SU held pace with GT for the next few minutes, but the Yellow Jackets grew their lead to 34-22 with 1:50 left in the half after a second 3 by Devoe and a dunk by Wright.
The Orange ended the half with a 3 by Hughes and two free throws by Boeheim, but they weren’t enough to get the deficit to single digits at the half. Hughes’ half-court shot rimmed out at the buzzer, and SU entered the locker room down 38-27.
Syracuse shot 7-26 (26.9%) from the field in the first half and 3-8 (37.5%) from 3. Hughes had 10 points and was the only Orange player with double digits. Georgia Tech shot 13-27 (48.1%) from the field and 4-9 (44.4%) from deep. Wright led all scorers with 17 points.
Girard III started the second half with a 3-pointer, and then he and Hughes each followed with a mid-range jumper to fuel a 7-0 run. After forcing Wright into a backcourt pass turnover, the Orange were down 38-34 at the first media timeout.
The Orange got within one point two minutes later after a three-point play by Girard III and Buddy Boeheim’s first 3 of the game, but the Yellow Jackets immediately responded with another 3 by Alvarado and a floater by Wright. Another run, which included a 3 from Boeheim that hit the rim and backboard and rolled in, put SU up 52-51 with 9:15 left in the game. It was the Orange’s first lead since 4-2 in the first half. Girard stretched it to 54-51 with a transition layup less than a minute later.
Syracuse’s lead didn’t go above five points over the next several minutes. Both teams attacked each other inside, scoring exclusively on layups and free throws. On one layup following an offensive rebound, Sidibe was hacked by GT center James Banks, who fouled out with his fifth foul of the game.
SU extended its lead in the final minutes of the game on free throws by Hughes and a jumper by Dolezaj. Syracuse got its first double-digit lead at 72-62 with 1:25 left, but Bubba Parham responded with a 3 to get GT within seven. The Orange still had a multiple-possession lead, though, and despite Wright continuing to score inside and at the line, the Yellow Jackets forced SU into shooting free throws. SU made enough free throws from Girard III and Dolezaj down the stretch to coast to a win.
Syracuse shot 45.1% from the field and 5-14 (35.7% from 3). Hughes and Dolezaj led the Orange with 20 points each, while Girard III had 15 and Boeheim had 13. Georgia Tech shot 46.2% from the field and 6-15 (40%) from 3. Wright had 33 points.
The Orange will play at Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Feb. 26. That game will tip at 7 p.m. and will be available to watch on ACCN.