Men’s basketball drops nail-biter to Miami on the road

Men's basketball drops nail-biter to Miami

For a shooting team, Syracuse has struggled to meet balls with baskets, and today was no different. Miami made the shots that Syracuse couldn’t.
Published: March 8, 2020
Syracuse's Joe Girard III and Qunicy Guerrier make their way down the court.
Syracuse's Joe Girard III and Qunicy Guerrier make their way down the court during the North Carolina game. Girard scored 13 points in the loss to Miami.

‘Canes and ‘Cuse keep it close

Marek Dolezaj scored first with back to back jumpers to give the Orange an early 4-0 lead. That unmatched scoring held for only three minutes when Rodney Miller Jr. dunked (shortly after Marek Dolezaj’s first foul) over Syracuse.

The tit-for-tat play continued for the beginning portion of the first half, with Syracuse leading for most of it. With eleven minutes left, the game’s leading scorer, Isaiah Wong, netted a layup to tie it at 13 all. From there, Miami led the low-scoring march.

Neither team could find a firm foothold on offense, while defense prevailed. Bourama Sidibe continued to be efficient in the paint for Syracuse, while the Hurricanes’ Wong and Sam Waardenburg proved to be just as proficient in rebounding. By the time the buzzer sounded for halftime, Miami was barely ahead 26-24.

Syracuse saves it

The matchup continued in much of the same manner in the second half. Neither offense could get anything going. Miami opened with a three, and Dolezaj made a layup, but from the end of the first minute to the end of the fourth, neither team could score.

Finally, Joe Girard III made a three, and Sidibe made a layup to close the lead and go up 31-29. That wouldn’t last long as the teeter-totter play of the first half began to infect the second half.

Neither team could fully hold a lead, but by the last ten seconds, Miami led 56-52. Joe Girard put the team on his back to keep Syracuse in the game. He made a layup, then fouled Sam Waardenburg. Waardenburg missed free throw, and Girard capitalized on a Jesse Edwards rebound by scoring a jumper with a second on the board. It was tied at 56-56.

Orange out in overtime

Syracuse’s defense kept them in the game. What failed them was their offense. Miami made 10 three-pointers. Syracuse only made five. They were only 20 percent from beyond the arc. From the charity line, they only sank 63.2 percent of their shots. Miami, on the other hand, made 86.7 percent of their free throws.

Syracuse simply didn’t capitalize on their opportunities. In overtime, Syracuse held them fairly close, but by the last two seconds of the game, Buddy Boeheim committed a foul. If Miami missed those two shots, Syracuse could nail a three to win. But Miami didn’t miss the shots they were given, and Dejan Vasiljevic made two shots to win 69-65.

Moving Forward

That’s it for the season. Jim Boeheim finishes with his 44th winning season in a row. It’s the 50th winning season for Syracuse University; a feat they are alone in accomplishing. Orange fans can rest knowing they have some promising young talent. They’ll be back for the ACC Tournament, and if they can put together a run there, who knows where they could end up?