Syracuse, N.Y. — The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team struggled at times on Saturday, but ultimately held for the win over Boston College by a final score of 75-67. The Orange moved to 10-1 inside the Carrier Dome this season. Syracuse has won six straight against Boston College and eight of the last nine.
Jim Boeheim made no changes to his starting lineup, sticking with Joe Girard, Buddy Boeheim, Alan Griffin, Quincy Guerrier and Marek Dolezaj.
The Orange came out hot, making its first three shots from beyond the 3-point line. Griffin, Boeheim and Girard connected in that order. Two transition buckets — one from Girard, another from Boeheim — catalyzed a Jim Christian timeout before the first media timeout. Syracuse led 14-6 at that juncture.
BC’s timeout had little avail as the Orange added to its cushion. The hot shooting continued as Griffin made Syracuse’s fourth consecutive three. Syracuse led 25-15 at second media timeout.
From there, Boston College answered the bell and went on an 15-4 run to cut Syracuse’s lead to 29-28. Christian’s squad wasn’t able to take the lead, however, and Girard started to heat up. With Rich Kelly defending him, Girard took advantage driving by his man and finishing around the him. He connected from distance, too, shooting 7-9 overall in the first half to score 16 points.
Boeheim went as deep as nine in as Griffin and Dolezaj both picked up three fouls. Kadary Richmond was first off the bench, followed by Robert Braswell. John Bol Ajak earned minutes for the first time since the Buffalo game on Dec. 19. In the post-game press conference, Boehiem said Bol Ajak is better at getting to the corners in the 2-3 zone than the other centers. Boeheim played Jesse Edwards for the final minute at center.
In the last minute of the first half four technicals were called, two on each side. Bol Ajak and Griffin were whistled for Ts on the Syracuse side. Boston College’s CJ Felder and Jay Heath were both whistled for Ts.
Syracuse took a 41-35 lead into the break shooting 17-31 from the floor and 5-8 from beyond the arc. The Orange owned the rebounding battle 19-14 and outscored Boston College in the paint 22-8.
Syracuse went on a 6-0 run to start the second half and, just like the first half, Christian called a timeout before getting to a pause in play for the first media timeout.
Boston College swung momentum its way when Griffin picked up his fourth foul early in the second. Boeheim elected to go with a three guard lineup, choosing to have the younger Boeheim play the bottom of the zone.
The Eagles applied full court pressure down ten and while they didn’t force turnovers, Syracuse struggled to execute in the half-court and BC cut into the lead to make it 53-47. Girard cooled off in the second half as he failed to score. After a turnover from a no-look pass, Boeheim lit into him.
Boeheim is really upset at Girard after that no-look pass/turnover: "Joe, would you look at the guy? LOOK! Just look. It's not cool. It's not cool."— James Szuba (@JamesSzuba) February 13, 2021
Boston College continued to hang with Syracuse the rest of the way. A layup from Eagles’ forward Heath cut it to five when the younger Boeheim responded with a turnaround jumper to make it 58-51 with 9:10 to play.
Boston College wouldn’t go away, though. They cut it to five with 5:40 to go when Dolezaj picked up his fourth foul. Boeheim elected to go with his senior as he and Griffin finished the game despite being in foul trouble.
Guerrier picked up his play down the stretch for SU. He had three crucial rebounds in traffic and converted a pair on a one-and-one.
In the final minutes, Felder was whistled for a technical foul, the fifth of the game. Syracuse made four straight free throws — two by Griffin, two by Dolezaj — and the Orange boosted their lead to 12. SU didn’t execute well down the stretch by giving up a three point look, turning the ball over and giving up a three-point play. Boston College cut it to six with a minute to play, but ultimately the Orange held on to win 75-67.
All five starters scored in double-figures for SU. Girard led Syracuse in scoring with 16 points to go with 6 rebounds, 3 steals and 4 turnovers. Griffin had 14 points and 8 rebounds. Guerrier finished one rebound shy of a double-double, scoring 12 points and hauling in 9 boards to go with 4 blocks and 3 steals. Boeheim chipped in 13 on 5-10 shooting.
Syracuse won the rebounding battle 37-33 and outscored BC in the paint 38-20.
Syracuse hits the road to take on Louisville this Wednesday. That game tips from the KFC Yum! Center at 6:30 p.m. and airs on the ACCN.