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Virginia 74, Syracuse 69 Orange falter down the stretch

Buddy Boeheim’s 27 aren’t enough to overcome poor defense

NCAA Basketball: Indiana at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

After Jimmy Boeheim opened the game with a basket for the Orange, Virginia got out to a 13-6 lead as they hit their first three attempts outside the arc. Syracuse tried to keep pace with their own outside shooting but turnovers and rebounding kept them trailing at the 8-minute timeout.

The next stretch was bad for the Orange on both ends as they couldn’t take advantage of Jayden Gardner heading to the bench with two fouls. Syracuse was down 23-16 as they took bad shots and let the Cavaliers get the ball into the middle of the zone. Buddy Boeheim got hot as he poured in 7 in a row to cut the Virginia lead to 27-22.

The Orange battled back to tie it at 33 going into halftime. Syracuse was helped by a seven-point advantage at the foul line. Buddy had 11 points with Jimmy next with 9. Virginia was led by Armaan Franklin’s 10 points while leading scorer Gardner had 6 in only seven minutes of action. Virginia finished the half 4-14 from 3 after making their first three attempts while the Orange were 5-15 from deep.

Syracuse came out of the locker room and attacked the offensive glass with eight early offensive boards but Virginia hit their first four shots and took a 43-40 lead at the first break. Jimmy Boeheim capped a 7-0 run for the Orange with a big dunk to give them the lead again but then the Syracuse defense collapsed as the Cavaliers went back in front 52-50 with under 11 to go.

After Jesse Edwards went to the bench with four fouls Virginia took a 57-52 lead and Boeheim took a time out. He replaced Girard with Torrance and switched to the 1-1-3 defense to try and slow the Cavaliers momentum. Torrance was active on both ends of the floor and he made two big hustle plays leading to Orange baskets including a Buddy 3 to cut the deficit to 65-62. Kihei Clark responded to push Virginia’s lead back to 6 as we hit the final media timeout.

Offensive rebounding kept Syracuse alive late as Edwards grabbed a miss and Girard hit Buddy for a 3 that made it 72-69 with 1:14 to play. Swider missed a chance to tie the game and after Clark hit two free throws and Girard missed an open 3 the Cavaliers were able to close it out.

Buddy finished with 27 points while Jimmy added 18 and 9 rebounds. Clark controlled the game down the stretch and ended up with 17 points along with Armaan Franklin. Syracuse won the rebounding battle but ended up 15-23 from the foul line with several key second-half misses.

The Orange fall to 7-6, 1-1 in the ACC and will head to Miami on Wednesday night.