The Syracuse men’s basketball team lost to the North Carolina Tar Heels 92-79 on Saturday afternoon.
Senior day, John Wallace’s jersey retirement, the presence of Orange alumni, and the last game in the Dome before its closure due to renovations were enough to raise the fanfare of the game. But the presence of Tom Brady, Jimmy Fallon, and Julian Edelman court-side topped it off.
Despite spraining his ankle in Wednesday’s game at Pittsburgh, Buddy Boeheim remained in the starting lineup along with Joe Girard III, Elijah Hughes, Marek Dolezaj, and Bourama Sidibe.
North Carolina opened the game’s scoring with a Leaky Black steal and dunk off an Elijah Hughes turnover on SU’s first possession. Both teams traded baskets for the start of the first half, neither one gaining more than a three point lead. A dunk by Sidibe with 11:11 left tied the score at 17.
The Orange went cold over the next six minutes, and the Tar Heels gained a 33-17 lead behind Cole Anthony and Christian Keeling. But the Orange responded, cutting UNC’s lead to 38-34 behind scoring by Hughes, Boeheim, and Sidibe. North Carolina entered the half up 40-35 after a jumper by Justin Pierce and then a free throw by Sidibe.
Syracuse shot 41.4% from the field in the first half and 3-11 (27.3%) from 3-point range. UNC made 47.1% of its field goals and 2-12 (16.7%) of its 3s.
Each team scored a layup on its first possession of the second half, but then UNC got hot from outside. Anthony, Keeling, and Brandon Robinson combined for six 3-pointers in the first six minutes of the second half to put UNC back up 16.
Despite SU shooting well from the field and the free throw line in the second half, the difference in 3-point scoring prevented the Orange from cutting their deficit to single digits. SU never got closer than 11 points the rest of the game, and North Carolina maintained a comfortable lead the rest of the way. The Orange walk-ons, including graduate student Shaun Belbey, entered the game in the final minute.
In the end, UNC won 92-79, its ninth straight victory against Syracuse.
Syracuse shot 44.4% (#BRAND) from the field and 6-24 (25%) from 3-point range. Buddy Boeheim had 22 points, Hughes had 19, and Sidibe had 17 (as well as 15 rebounds and six blocks).
North Carolina shot 51.6% and 11-26 (42.3%) from 3 and out-rebounded the Orange 39-29. Brooks had a game-high 26 points (and 14 rebounds), Anthony had 25, and Keeling had 18.
The Orange will play at Boston College on Tuesday, March 3. That game tips at 7 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN2.