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Georgia Tech 84, Syracuse 77: Orange fall flat in second half

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Syracuse fell to 13-8 and 7-7 in conference play after a road loss to Georgia Tech.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Georgia Tech Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team squandered its last quadrant one opportunity of the regular season, falling by a final score of 84-77 at Georgia Tech. Syracuse moved to 2-7 in road games and 0-6 in quadrant one games.

Syracuse once again got off a to a rough start and Georgia Tech scored on the first two plays of the game. Jim Boeheim came out of the coaching box to argue with one referee on two no-calls and received a technical just 44 seconds into the game.

The Orange got into quick foul trouble to boot as Marek Dolezaj picked up two quick personals. John Bol Ajak supplanted the senior early. The Orange picked up five fouls in less than three minutes and Georgia Tech led 17-8 at the first stoppage in play.

Boeheim went to his bench early, bringing in Kadary Richmond and Robert Braswell for Joe Girard and Quincy Guerrier. Moses Wright had success early and he went inside against Bol Ajak. He scored eight points and Boeheim then turned to Jesse Edwards in the middle.

Dolezaj came back into the game at the 9:59 mark, but on his first offensive possession he traveled and Georgia Tech took advantage. The Orange uncharacteristically turned it over against the Yellow Jackets with eight first half turnovers.

From there, the game turned back into favor of the Orange. Syracuse trailed by as much as 13, but a 23-5 run gave them the lead end the half gave them the lead. The run was fueled by Alan Griffin’s shooting as he scored 20 points on 7-9 shooting (4-5 form outside). Dolezaj picked up his third foul, which allowed Edwards to emerge during the stretch run. He played solid defense on Wright inside the paint and hauled in five important rebounds. He had a point and a block as well.

Girard scored eight first half points to add to the run and Syracuse led 39-34 at the intermission.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Georgia Tech Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Both teams sea-sawed back and forth early in the second half. Georgia Tech took its first lead out out the intermission at 42-41 after a wide open three from Michael Devoe on an in-bounds. Buddy Boeheim answered with a floater after an offensive rebound and Quincy Guerrier hit a three to make it 45-42. But the Yellow Jackets responded and a Devoe triple plus a layup gave the lead back to Georgia Tech as they led 52-49 at the 13:22 mark.

The Syracuse 2-3 zone struggled to rebound in the second half. Wright found a way to grab offensive rebounds and when he couldn’t corral it, he tapped it to a teammate to keep possessions alive. Second chance points hurt the Orange.

Georgia Tech got out on the break as well as two straight layups and two straight dunks — one by Jordan Usher, another by Wright — gave the Yellow Jackets a 61-53 edge. Syracuse used its penultimate timeout with 8:49 to play.

Out of the timeout, Richmond made his defender fall and he had a nice pass to Edwards for a dunk, but the Orange couldn’t capitalize on that momentum. Dolezaj fouled out with over five minutes to play. Georgia Tech went up double-digits and Syracuse went to the press late.

Down the stretch, back to back monster dunks from Wright and Usher nearly put the game away at 73-61. Syracuse forced a few turnovers after Jose Alvardo fouled out with three minutes to play, but a late dunk and open three sealed the deal for Georgia Tech. Syracuse fell on the road 84-77 as Wright posted 31 points and 17 rebounds.

Next up

Syracuse returns home to take on North Carolina on Monday night. That game tips at 7 p.m. and airs on ESPN.