The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team defeated the Clemson Tigers by a final score of 64-54 on Wednesday night. It was an important win for Syracuse to keep its at-large NCAA Tournament hopes alive.
Syracuse moved to 13-1 at home in the victory. The game was a tale of two halves as both teams struggled mightily to score in the first 20 minutes. Syracuse led 25-22 at the intermission. In the second half, both teams couldn’t miss. Alan Griffin found rhythm for Syracuse as he helped fuel his team to the win. He led all scorers with 22 points to go along with 10 rebounds.
To the takeaways.
Bubble conversation continues
Syracuse entered the day on the NCAA Tournament bubble, albeit on the outside looking in. The bubble conversation will continue as the Orange picked up a quadrant two win over Clemson.
Still, there are some serious holes in Syracuse’s résumé. The Orange are devoid of a quadrant one win with an 0-6 record (although NC State is just on the other side of that at 76 in NET). Syracuse’s 13-1 home record is impressive, but 2-7 on the road leaves much to be desired.
If Syracuse can win a few games in the ACC Tournament (importantly on a neutral court setting), they have a chance. Either way, the Orange want to play themselves as close to the field as possible. You never know if a spot could open up in the field of 68 as a contingency team.
In Monday night’s game against North Carolina, freshman guard Kadary Richmond limped off the court with under four minutes to play and did not return. He practiced on Tuesday and played sparingly in the first half on Wednesday. Jim Boeheim told Matt Park at the half that Richmond’s knee was hurting.
Boeheim: "We're playing great defense and rebounding the ball really well... We've got to get something going on offense, that's the key. Kadary's knee is hurting. I'm trying to get him some time, but his knee is hurt and he's going about half speed. We'll see what happens."— Matt Park (@MattPark1) March 3, 2021
Richmond didn’t come in until the 11 minute mark of the second half. He played 18 minutes in total and finished with 5 points and 4 assists. He was 0-4 from the field and 5-6 from the free throw line.
In the post-game press conference, Boeheim didn’t allude to scheduling another game before the ACC Tournament.
“We’re pretty beat up. I think there’s games all scheduled,” Boeheim said. “We’ve just had a difficult week. Saturday-Monday-Wednesday is tough for our team.”
If Syracuse played its final game of the regular season, the team will have at least six days of rest before the ACC Tournament begins. Any hope at making some noise in Greensboro will depend on a healthy team, including Richmond.
Feast or famine Griffin
The first half of Syracuse-Clemson was a rock fight that ended in a 25-22 Orange lead at the intermission. Then Alan Griffin came out firing in the second half and seemingly put the game out of reach for Clemson.
Griffin has been volatile in his first season at SU. He scored 26 points at Georgia Tech last Saturday on 4-7 outside shooting. He followed that up with a 4 point effort on 0-6 outside shooting against North Carolina on Monday.
Against Clemson, Griffin finished with 22 points on 6-12 shooting from distance to go along with 10 rebounds. He’s been up and down, but when he’s up he can help you win a game. He chalked up his performance to just having fun.
“I’m just playing basketball and having fun with my teammates,” Griffin said.