Syracuse fends off Virginia Tech in 71-69 thriller

SU fends off Virginia Tech in ACC thriller

Buddy Boeheim leads the Orange with 26 points to tie his career scoring best.
Published: January 19, 2020
Syracuse's Buddy Boeheim fends off Wabissa Bede of Virginia Tech on Jan. 18 in Blacksburg, Va.
Syracuse's Buddy Boeheim who had a career-high 26 points Saturday fends off Virginia Tech's Wabissa Bede.

It wasn’t apparent that Syracuse were underdogs heading into their second clash of the season with Virginia Tech on Saturday. The Orange came out firing on all cylinders, beating the Hokies 71-69 to even the score with the ACC competitor that won the previous match in the Carrier Dome.

The victory was in big part thanks to sophomore Buddy Boeheim, who led his team with 18 points in the first half and 26 overall – tying his career-high also on the road against Georgia Tech in December. He was also accurate from inside the arc, hitting 5-of-7 shots and dropping an additional five 3-point buckets for 50 percent shooting of the day. Elijah Hughes and Marek Dolezaj were the only other Orange to chip in double-digit points, with 17 and 11, respectively.

Syracuse's Marek Dolezaj (21) looks for a pass while Nahiem Alleyne (4) of Virginia Tech defends on Jan. 18 in Blacksburg, Va.
Syracuse's Marek Dolezaj looks for a pass while being defended Virginia Tech Saturday in Blacksburg, Va.

With the win, Syracuse extends its league winning streak to three-straight, and improves its overall record to 10-7. Virginia Tech, meanwhile, falls to 13-5 and sees what would have been its own three-game streak halted at two.

Defensively, Syracuse held its own against Virginia Tech in the first half by holding the home team to just 28 points over 20 minutes. The team racked up 30 defensive rebounds, six steals, and two blocks over the course of the game. Dolezaj contributed with 11 total rebounds.

The second half of the game saw the Hokies come roaring back, putting up 41 points to close in on the Syracuse lead – the Orange did enough to secure the victory.

Nahiem Alleyne (4) grabs the rebound from Bourama Sidibe (34) on Jan. 18, 2020 in Blacksburg, Va.
Bourama Sidibe gets entangled with Hokies guard Nahiem Alleyne going after a rebound Saturday.

Though the team struggled from deep, as a unit, the Orange went 6-of-24 from beyond the arc with Boeheim doing the lion’s share of sharpshooting. Only Hughes chipped in one other 3-pointer.

The win sets Syracuse up for a showdown with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (11-6) on Tuesday. The game will be on the road, a place Syracuse has generally been comfortable on the season, going 3-1 as the away team. The Orange will face a Notre Dame looking to establish consistency; the Fighting Irish are just 1-2 in their previous three contests. Should Syracuse beat Notre Dame, it ties the season’s previous longest win-streak at four games.

Syracuse's Quincy Guerrier (1) puts his arms out to defend against the Hokies on Jan. 18, 2020 in Blacksburg, Va.
Syracuse's Quincy Guerrier stretches to defend against the Hokies.