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Three takeaways from Syracuse basketball’s 79-72 win over Georgia Tech

Syracuse outscored Georgia Tech 52-34 in the second half to come from behind and win in the penultimate home game of the 2019-20 season

NCAA Basketball: Colgate at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team handled the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets by a final score of 79-72 on Saturday. The win moved Syracuse to 15-12 on the season and 8-8 in ACC play.

While Syracuse is off the NCAA Tournament bubble and will remain so the rest of the way, (barring an improbable run in the conference tournament) the team still has much to play for, including a winning 2019-20 season. Had the Orange fell in this contest it would have moved Jim Boeheim’s club to 14-13 on the year and further into the danger of his first losing season in 44 years as head coach of Syracuse.

Alas, Syracuse won despite trailing by double-digits at the break. The Orange owned the second half as it came back to win against Georgia Tech.

Speaking of...

A game of two halves

Syracuse looked dead in the water in the first half and trailed the Yellow Jackets 38-27 at the intermission. But A second-half fury fueled the comeback as Syracuse completely turned it around.

SU shot just 26.9% in the first 20 minutes and allowed 48.1% shooting from Georgia Tech as Moses Wright worked his way inside for 17 first half points.

Then the Orange flipped the switch out of the break, quickly going on a 7-0 run behind Joe Girard’s five points and an Elijah Hughes bucket to get back in it. Hughes and Marek Dolezaj each scored 20 in the contest altogether while Girard scored 15 to boost the offense. Buddy Boeheim chipped in with 13 points, too. The defense tightened up as well, despite Wright going for 33 in his team’s loss.

NCAA Basketball: Georgia Tech at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

League standings

Syracuse’s win moved the Orange to 8-8 in the ACC and into a tie for fifth place in the league standings. The Orange technically slide to sixth as an 8-8 NC State team owns the tie-breaker against Syracuse.

But SU joins a log-jam in the middle of the league. Louisville, Duke, Florida State and Virginia sit comfortably at the top, however, NC State, Syracuse, Clemson, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech and Boston College are all within one game of each other in the standings.

This is important as it relates to the upcoming ACC Tournament. Nobody wants to be in the 8/9 seed game in the ACCT.

Free throws, turnovers and transition buckets

Oh, how the little things matter within the game of basketball.

Syracuse and Georgia Tech both shot a similar percentage from the field. The rebounding battle was close, with Syracuse holding a narrow 33-32 edge on the glass. Points in the paint were square on both sides at 34 and neither team’s bench made much of a difference.

This game was won by Syracuse on turnovers, transition points and made free throws. Syracuse forced 17 Georgia Tech turnovers and scored 21 points in transition to Tech’s 9.

The Orange also got the the line 36 times and made 28 of those attempts while Georgia Tech went to the line 26 times and made 18. Elijah Hughes was 8-10 from the line and nobody had a better day from the charity stripe than Dolezaj, who made 12-12.

Brent Axe, what say you?