Syracuse men’s basketball rallies in second half to edge out NC State 76-73
SU men's basketball edges out NC State 76-73
Syracuse bounced back after a tough 81-58 loss last week against No. 8 Virginia to beat ACC opponent NC State 76-73. The Orange are now 10-5 overall and .500 (4-4) in ACC Conference play. Syracuse also improves to an impressive 9-1 record in the Dome this season, with the team’s only loss at home having come against Pittsburgh. Star center Bourama Sidibe warmed up, but did not play in tonight’s game.
Alan Griffin led the line for Syracuse with 19 points, 4 steals, and 3 blocks. Quincy Guerrier ended the night with a double-double – 10 points, 10 rebounds – putting in a big second half performance after only scoring two points in the first.
Buddy Boeheim also came to play, beginning to find his rhythm again after shooting struggles in recent weeks. Despite getting off to a slow start, Boeheim recorded 17 points and knocked down four three-point shots on 50% shooting from beyond the arc.
With a flurry of solid offensive performances from the Syracuse starting lineup, it was actually Kadary Richmond who proved to have the strongest impact on the game. Coming off the bench for the struggling Joseph Girard III, Richmond was the catalyst in the offense at the guard position for the Orange’s second half efforts. Richmond ended with 14 points to his name in just 16 minutes played.
NC State was without their two leading scorers tonight, in Devon Daniels and DJ Funderburk. Daniels tore his ACL with nine minutes to go in NC State’s 72-67 win over Wake Forest. It was announced just an hour before tipoff that Funderburk would not be available for tonight’s matchup against the Orange, citing university policies.
Despite not having Daniels or Funderburk available, other members of the Wolfpack readily stepped up to fill their shoes. Forwards Jericole Hellems and Manny Bates took the game to the Orange with standout performances, scoring 24 and 17 points, respectively. Bates also recorded 14 rebounds, marking the second double-double of his collegiate career.
Coming into tonight’s game, it was expected that, despite Syracuse’s shaky defense, the Orange’s formidable offensive play would simply overpower a shorthanded NC State. This was not the case.
Struggling to keep up with NC State in a fast-paced first half filled with a combined 28 three-point attempts between both teams, Syracuse found themselves in a 9-point hole, down 47-38 at the half.
Coach Kevin Keatts had his Wolfpack playing intense, motivating basketball. On the other side, coach Jim Boeheim needed his team to regroup and clean up their defensive play.
Syracuse came out strong and quickly began to reduce the deficit behind Guerrier’s four consecutive points to start the half. To try and slow down Syracuse, NC State chose to be patient on offense, but could not maintain the same scoring efficiency they did in the first half.
Only five minutes into the second half, Griffin knocked down a catch-and-shoot three to make it 53-50, shrinking NC State’s lead to three points.
From there on out, it became a tight, back-and-forth game with both teams trading basket after basket. Syracuse would soon tie the game at 54 each, and ultimately ride this momentum to take the lead at 58-56.
With about five minutes left in the game, Boeheim came up clutch to hit his fourth three-point shot of the night. This put Syracuse up 70-65, giving the Orange their biggest advantage of the night.
NC State fought hard into the waning minutes, keeping it a one possession game until the very end. However, the Wolfpack were never able to catch back up with Syracuse, as the Orange’s offense continued to produce and defense significantly improved.
After the game, Boeheim mentioned he is hopeful that Sidibe will play in the Orange’s next game later this week against ACC rival Louisville.
Syracuse will look to make continued improvement when they are back in the Dome on Wednesday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m.