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Syracuse falls to Pitt 64-53

This was bleak

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament-Pittsburgh vs Syracuse Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

That hurt.

Everything looked fine for Syracuse until it wasn't tonight. Syracuse led the entire first half only to let their lead slip away in the second and a hungry Pitt team capitalize beating the Orange, 64-53 on their home turf.

Syracuse finished the game shooting 19.4 percent from distance and 30.2% from the field. Buddy Boeheim finished as Syracuse’s leading scorer with 25 points on 9-23 shooting. The Panthers finished with four players in double-figure scoring and two of those players with double-doubles. Hugley and Gueye finished with a combined 28 rebounds, 62.2% of the team’s 45 total rebounds.

Early on, Syracuse and Pitt exchanged scoreless possessions, until Cole Swider scored the first points of the game for the Orange off an assist from Jimmy Boeheim.

Pitt was repeatedly trying to score in the paint only to be swarmed by Syracuse’s interior defense in the opening minutes of the game. The Panthers remained resilient until they were able to kick the ball out for a corner three to Onyebuchi Ezeakudo off an assist from Femi Odukale.

Jimmy Boeheim and Jesse Edwards then scored back-to-back baskets until Pitt’s John Hugely was fouled in the paint connecting on 1-2 free throws but still down 7-4.

Joe Girard then pushed the ball up the floor and found an open Buddy Boeheim from beyond the arc to put the Orange up 10-4.

After a time out at the 15:36, both teams traded possessions to no baskets, while Pitt was trying their best to keep Buddy Boeheim doubled whenever the ball got to him. Pitt went scoreless after Hugly’s free throw for 4:31 seconds.

This stayed a trend until the 11:56 mark, when the Panthers were finally able to score the ball off back-to-back baskets from Mouhamadou Gueye to cut the Orange’s lead to 13-8.

Buddy Boeheim connected on his 3rd three of the night a minute later to bring his point total to 9 in barely ten minutes on 3-5 shooting from distance.

Pitt came right back at the Orange the following possession, scoring off a mid-range jumper from Jamarius Burton to bring the Panthers down 16-10.

Following a Cole Swider foul on John Hugely, the Panthers called a timeout. When action resumed, the big man connected on 1-2 free throws for the second time tonight.

Through 11 minutes, Syracuse held the Panthers to 4-19 shooting from the field and 1-7 shooting from distance, while forcing 5 turnovers in the process. Although Syracuse was able to hold Pitt’s scoring efforts down, they only shot 35 % from the field and 40% from distance themselves.

Jimmy Boeheim then connected on an and-1 mid-range jumper off a foul from Chris Payton, but missed the free throw holding, still bringing the Orange to an 18-11 lead.

Following two made free throws from Swider, Syracuse then forced Pitt’s 7th turnover of the night and scored off another Buddy Boeheim jumper, his 11th point of the night, and bringing the Orange’s lead to 10.

John Hugely found his way to the line again, connecting on both this time. Syracuse then committed a turnover taking the ball up the court letting a lay-up slip and allowing Pitt to draw a charge, both turnovers at the hands of Joe Girard forcing Syracuse to call their first timeout of the night. Pitt now sat only down 21-15 with 4:50 left to play in the half.

Coming out of the timeout, Gueye then connected on a dunk over John Bol Ajuik and Hugley drew a foul on a lay-up, finishing the tough shot for the and-1, brining the Panthers down 21-19 with 3:39 left in the half.

After Hugley converted the and-1, Jimmy Boeheim was fouled on the following play and drew two foul shots, connecting on both, putting the Orange up 3. Syracuse then fouled, Jamarius Burton, an 89% free throw shooter, who connected on both making it a one-point game yet again.

Following a Jimmy Boeheim lay-up, John Hugley made a pass into the paint to Gueye where he drew a foul, connecting on both free throws to making the score 25-24.

Buddy Boeheim after a sloppy Syracuse possession with less than 30 seconds left, caught the ball off a save from Swider and connected on his 4th three of the night to put the Orange up 28-24 with 14.6 seconds left in the first half.

Syracuse forced a turnover with four seconds left in the half, setting up Buddy for another three, but officials waived the basket sending the game to halftime.

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament-Pittsburgh vs Syracuse Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

At the start of the second, both teams missed shots for a few seconds, until Cole Swider made a pull-up jumper. Pitt connected on a three the following possession and Syracuse matched with a field goal to bring the score to 32-27.

Gueye connected on a dunk off a pass from Burton for his 10th points of the night while cutting the Orange’s lead to 3.

Swider then drew a foul on a lay-up, finished, and converted the extra point, with Buddy the following possession making a mid-range jumper of his own to bring the lead to 37-32 with 15:15 left in the game.

Following a Syracuse timeout, Pitt connected on a pull-up three from Burton making it a one-possession game yet again.

Following a Jimmy Boeheim miss, Hugley made the outlet pass and Gueye connected on a breakaway dunk to tie the game up, 37-37. the tie only lasted 22 seconds until Buddy Boeheim connected a basket and drew a foul giving Syracuse a three-point lead after he converted the basket.

Pitt came storming back, connecting on back-to-back baskets, and taking their first lead of the night following a Femi Odukale lay-up.

Syracuse began to look deflated following Pitt’s attack, and let up their 13th-second chance points following a Burton 3 pointer for his 15th points of the night, putting the Panthers up 44-40 with 11:33 left.

Syracuse turned the ball over coming out of a time-out, opening up Gueye for a corner three, his 15th points of the night, bringing Pitt up 7 with 10:40 remaining.

After Buddy drew a foul from distance, connecting on 2-3 free throws, Pitt came back with Gueye drawing a foul connecting on both, bringing the score to 49-42.

Jesse Edwards made a basket off a dunk the next possession and was able to draw a foul and make both free throws the possession after, cutting the Panthers lead to 4 points.

That Pitt league was made 7 points the next possession, as Ezeakudo made a three to put the Panthers up 52-45 with 7:38 remaining.

Burton made a dunk shortly after to put the Panthers up 8, 54-46. Syracuse struggled shooting the ball across the board tonight, specifically in the second half, shooting 6-20 from the field 0-7 from distance, and 6-11 from the charity stripe through 15 minutes.

With Girard struggling and taking a shot to the body, Syracuse began experimenting with a Buddy, Jimmy, Cole, Ajiuk, and Edwards line-up.

Hugley, who was quiet all night, made a turnaround jumper with 4 minutes left to put the Panthers up 10, 56-46.

Syracuse coming out of a timeout with 2:56 left, attempted an alley-oop only for Pitt to reject the pass and for Gueye to draw a foul, connecting on both for his 19th points of the night, a career-high.

Buddy made a jumper following Gueye’s free throws only for Hugley to make a lay-up on the other end putting Pitt back up 10 with 90 seconds left.

Girard made his first basket with 34.7 seconds in the contest, a corner three to cut Pitt’s lead to 7. After fouling Pitt, Girard tested his luck again only to miss from distance and for Gueye to collect his 10th rebound of the night.

Pitt made it back to the line following a Syracuse foul, made two more free throws, Buddy missed another 3 and the clock expired with the final score 64-53 Pitt.

Up next, Syracuse hopes to bounce back against Wake Forest this weekend inside of the dome after losing back-to-back games in humiliating fashion.