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Syracuse 63, Florida State 60: Orange hang on for biggest win of season

Syracuse beat Florida State to move to 5-3 on the season.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Florida State Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team earned its biggest win of the season, taking down the Florida State Seminoles in the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center by a final score of 63-60. Jesse Edwards tallied a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds while Joe Girard and Cole Swider tied for a team-high 16 points.

Out of the gate, Florida State showed pressure man-to-man defense in the half-court and picked up full-court on made baskets. On the other end, Jim Boeheim had his Syracuse team come out in the same 1-1-3 alteration of the 2-3 zone as he did in the Indiana game.

Jesse Edwards picked up his first and only foul of the first half as he reached in on Florida State’s Jalen Warley on a shot attempt. Warley made the bucket and completed the three point play as Florida State held an 8-3 lead at the first media timeout.

Syracuse was able to handle the full court press, but struggled running its offense once it got the ball into the halfcourt. With Florida State’s athletes and aggressive defense, Syracuse started 2-15 from the floor with four turnovers, trailing 12-5 by the second media timeout.

Eventually, Swider found an opening on offense and made a three to cut the FSU lead to 14-9. Then Girard made a triple to make it 14-12. That’s as close as Syracuse would get in the first half, however as neither team could make a shot until Florida State went on a 9-0 run to 23-12 lead.

Swider ended the Florida State run with a pump-fake and pull-up two off of one dribble. Naheem McLeod answered for FSU and on the next play, Girard bailed his team out with the shot-clock winding down as his deep bomb made it 25-17. Edwards then rejected a Wyatt Wilkes corner 3-point attempt out of bounds. Symir Torrence found some extended minutes in the first half and did some good things handling the pressure and setting up the offense. He dished out three assists and had one turnover with a plus/minus of plus six.

Both teams traded buckets down the final stretch of the first half. Edwards was fouled on Syracuse’s final offensive possession. He made a pair and Florida State went into the half with a 32-24 lead. Syracuse shot 8-35 (22.9%) from the floor and 4-17 (23.5%) from deep while the Seminoles shot 13-31 (41.9%) and 1-13 (7.7%) from three.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Florida State Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

Out of the break, Malik Osborne connected on a corner three for Florida State to start the scoring. But Girard answered with his third triple. After an Edwards defensive rebound, Girard found him on the roll after a screen. He laid it in to cut Florida State’s lead to six and Leonard Hamilton called timeout.

Girard then made two free throws to cut FSU’s lead to four with just under 15 minutes to play. Evans scored for FSU. Then, with Florida State lulled into taking shots from outside, Syracuse went on an 11-0 run that turned the game around. Buddy Boeheim made a layup, then Girard was fouled on a fast break and made a pair. Edwards then completed a three point play and then Syracuse took the lead on a Jimmy Boeheim floater. A Buddy drive and righty finish made it 40-37 Syracuse.

Syracuse never trailed the rest of the way. Florida State fought back, but with Wyatt Wilkes defending him, Jimmy scored on back to back buckets in the paint to make it 49-42. The Seminoles were too content to take perimeter shots and they missed them. They missed all of them from Osborne’s made three at the beginning of the half until the 4:32 mark when Caleb Mills made one from the same location.

Mills made his three, but Swider answered right back with a big triple to give Syracuse a 58-49 lead going into the final media timeout. But Florida State showed life as it worked the ball inside and forced Edwards to foul out at at the 3:25 mark as Syracuse clung to a 58-53 lead. A free throw cut the lead to just four and Girard answered with a three to make it a three possession game.

Once again it was Mills down the stretch for Florida State as his layup made it 61-57. Osborne then made a three to cut Syracuse lead to one. After both teams turned it over with under a minute left, Swider was fouled and went to line and made a pair, putting Syracuse up three. The Orange tried to foul with 10 seconds left, but Florida State missed on a couple of 3s — the last a desperation corner attempt — on the final possession and missed both. Syracuse was able to hold on for its biggest win of the season, snapping the Seminoles’ 25-game ACC home win streak.

Next Up

Syracuse travels to New York City on Tuesday to take on old Big East rival Villanova in the Jimmy V Classic. That game tips at 9:30 p.m. ET from Madison Square Garden and airs on ESPN.