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Four takeaways from Syracuse basketball’s 77-68 win at NC State

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Syracuse moved to 11-6 on the season and 5-5 in conference play.

NCAA Basketball: Miami-Florida at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team rebounded on the road Tuesday night, handling the NC State Wolfpack by a final score of 77-68. The Orange completed the sweep of NC State to move to 2-0 against Kevin Keatts’ club this season.

Alan Griffin led the way for Syracuse with 22 points on 9-17 shooting. Quincy Guerrier had 14 points and seven rebound while Buddy Boeheim scored 16. TNIAAM favorite Robert Braswell provided a key spark off the bench in the second half with a made three and a pair of rebounds.

To the takeaways..

Kadary Richmond was ill...

... his play, that is.

Ladies and gents, I know what you’re thinking after reading that and yes, this site is still free. Richmond was listed as questionable coming into the game due to a “non-covid” illness. Jim Boeheim said after the game that it was due to a tooth which kept him out of practice. Richmond is scheduled to have the tooth removed on Wednesday morning.

Said Alan Griffin after the game: “In practice it’s funny, because coach would be like, ‘Your legs work. Your teeth hurt, but your legs work.’”

Richmond played anyhow and made an impact off the bench as he often does. He had an important stretch that included back-to-back steals at the top of the zone. Both times he took it coast to coast for the finish. He had six points, three steals, a block and assist in the first half.

Richmond cooled off a bit in the second, but his first half was a large reason why Syracuse went into the break with a 34-33 lead. The freshman finished his night with eight points, three assists and three steals. He also had four turnovers. But Richmond was a defensive presence out there and he helped SU to a win, which of course means Syracuse is 2-0 when players have adverse tooth issues.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 12 Syracuse at Boston College Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Buddy Boeheim break out

Perhaps lost within the rest of the game was Buddy Boeheim’s shooting. He shot an important 3-5 from distance on Tuesday night and finished with 16 points on 6-12 shooting overall. Boeheim looked comfortable off the dribble, too, even knocking down a floater at one point.

When Syracuse saw a 10 point lead dwindle down to one possession with just over four minutes to play, it was Boeheim’s bucket that got the Orange back to a two possession lead at the 4:22 mark. The Wolfpack never got closer.

More importantly though, Boeheim is now 9-20 (45.0%) from deep in his last three games. Could we see him get hot down the stretch for Syracuse?

Turnovers

A big reason Syracuse was able to win this game was due to the miscues of NC State. The Wolfpack coughed the ball up 20 times to Syracuse’s 12. Some of those turnovers were unforced errors. Others were mistakes that the 2-3 zone was able to take advantage of.

Syracuse trapped the corners and the guards executed with the pilfer (vernacular stolen from Bill Raftery) up top. The Orange had 11 steals in total. They took 15 more shots than NC State in part due to that and 14 offensive rebounds.

Road win

Syracuse picked up its second road win to move to 2-5 on the season away from home. In a year in which ACC home teams have been winning more than usual, road wins have been hard to come by, particularly for SU.

No real reason to do a deep dive on this team’s chances to make the NCAA Tournament. But as NC State is No. 80 in NET, Syracuse is now 2-1 on quadrant two games. The Orange are on the outside looking in, but here’s Syracuse’s résumé for those interested:

Record by quadrant:

Quadrant 1: 0-4

Quadrant 2: 2-1

Quadrant 3: 7-1

Quadrant 4: 2-0

Syracuse’s 2020-21 team sheet (click to enlarge)