SYRACUSE, N.Y. — After a six-day hiatus, the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team returned home and survived against the N.C. State Wolfpack by a final score of 76-73. The Orange moved to 9-1 inside the Carrier Dome this season.
N.C. State was without its two leading scorers as Devon Daniels suffered an ACL injury earlier in the week against Wake Forest. DJ Funderburk was held out for “disciplinary reasons,” according to NC State. Jim Boeheim made no changes to his starters, going with Joe Girard, Buddy Boeheim, Alan Griffin, Quincy Guerrier and Marek Dolezaj.
Both teams started out hot as the Wolfpack made five of its first six shots from the floor. Syracuse went 3-5 from deep (two from Griffin, one from Boeheim) and the score was knotted at 11 at the first media timeout. The red-hot offense continued as NC State dissected the zone for dunks, shooting 7-11 from the floor by the second timeout. Braxton Beverly made his first three of four attempts from outside.
The zone was porous throughout the first half as NC State got the ball into the high-post and established itself inside, taking a 29-26 at the 7:08 mark. Syracuse surrendered the inside battle as NC State owned a 12-6 points in the paint advantage.
The half was close throughout until NC State went on a 14-2 run to open up a double-digit lead 38-28 with 3:07 to play.
Kadary Richmond played well off the bench despite Syracuse’s defenses struggles. He scored eight first half points, including a two-for-one opportunity at the end of the first half. Richmond got fouled on the first attempt, made both free throws and then scored again just before the halftime buzzer.
Still, NC State took a 47-38 lead into the break. The 2-3 zone allowed the Wolfpack to shoot 17-30 from the floor (56.7%). Griffin scored 10 first half points for Syracuse while Richmond had eight off the bench. For State, Manny Bates scored 12 first half points and grabbed nine rebounds. Jericole Hellems scored 10.
Out of the break, Syracuse whittled into NC State’s lead right away. The Orange looked to establish Guerrier inside with the diminutive, 5-foot-11 Beverly on him. He scored four quick points while the younger Boeheim connected on a three-point play that made the elder fall out of his seat.
Coach excited about the and 1. Very excited. pic.twitter.com/QAga60VIDr— Cuse Militia (@CuseMilitia) February 1, 2021
Syracuse continued to cut into NC State’s lead by going inside to Guerrier. Back to back buckets by the sophomore forward gave the Orange the first lead of the second half 58-56 with 10:15 to play.
With the game winding down, both teams traded leads and buckets down the stretch. Hellems had a three-point play that tipped the scale back in the favor of the Wolfpack. Griffin made a jumper, but Hellems took the lead right back on the ensuing possession. Richmond went the other way for SU and scored on a goal-tended floater that gave Syracuse a 62-61 edge with over seven minutes to play.
With Richmond taking command, Kevin Keatts switched Beverly off of him in favor of Shakeel Moore but to minimum avail. The frosh took him off the dribble and scored on another floater and Keatts mixed defenders on Richmond. The younger Boeheim found a bit of rhythm as he made two straight 3s to give Syracuse a 70-65 lead with just over four minutes to play.
NC State got back to within one under two minutes to play, but Richmond answered on the other end with a crossover to spin move which resulted in a sweet lefty lay-in off the glass to give Syracuse a three point cushion with under a minute left.
Dolezaj made a clutch pair of free throws in a one-and-one scenario with 17 seconds to play. His free throws gave the Orange a two possession lead. Guerrier fouled out by fouling Moore on a three on the next play. He made all three. Griffin was fouled on Syracuse’s next possession and he made both to give Syracuse a three point lead. A heave wouldn’t fall for N.C. State late and the Orange held on for a 76-73 win.
Griffin led Syracuse in scoring with 19 points. Boeheim scored 17 on 4-8 shooting from outside. Dolezaj concluded his night with 11 points, eight rebounds, six assists and four steals. Guerrier finished with his seventh double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Syracuse hosts No. 25 Louisville from the Carrier Dome on Wednesday. That game tips at 7 p.m. and airs on the ACCN.