Syracuse falls short of Duke sweep in front of record crowd
Duke outshoots SU in front of record Dome crowd
There was a record 35,642 in attendance at the Carrier Dome to watch Syracuse attempt the season sweep of No. 1 Duke. The Orange fought and clawed, but Duke was able to pull away late in the second half to secure the 75-65 victory.
After sustaining a grade one knee sprain within the first minute of Duke’s matchup against North Carolina on Wednesday, Blue Devils star Zion Williamson was unable to play against SU. Alex O’Connell replaced Williamson in the starting lineup, and his 20 points were vital for the Blue Devils.
“I thought the difference in the game was O’Connell offensively,” said Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim. “He’s a tremendous shooter. We had a couple break downs and didn’t get to him.”
His hustle and effort were huge for Syracuse all game before he fouled out with 1:41 left in the game.
At the half, Syracuse led Duke, 34-29.
Barrett was Duke’s only offense in the 20 minutes. He scored 17 of the team’s 29 points and kept them in the game.
Cam Reddish only had two points at the half and Tre Jones was 1-of-6 (1-of-5 from three-point range) for three points. Duke was 3-of-15 from three in the first half, shooting only 20 percent.
Duke didn’t score any bench points in the first half. Not having the threat of Williamson on either side of the ball hurt the Blue Devils, and it showed offensively and on easy drives for Syracuse in the first half.
The Orange will look to bounce back as they travel to Chapel Hill on Tuesday to take on No. 8 North Carolina at 9 p.m.
Boeheim received a huge ovation as he took the court for the first time following the tragic accident in which Boeheim hit and killed 51-year-old Jorge Jimenez with his car earlier this week. Syracuse fans and the entire Syracuse community in attendance was behind him as made his way to the floor.
“Our fans are great,” Boeheim said after the game. “I’ve been here all my life, they’ve always been supportive. I think they know how bad I feel, what I feel. And I just thought they were there to support our team and me.”
Boeheim said that events that transpired this week will stay with him forever.
“This is something that will be with me for the rest of my life.”