The beat goes on for Syracuse, another big game, another huge opportunity to take a giant step in the right direction.
At the end, just another crushing defeat in a season quickly becoming on the brink for the Orange.
Tonight, Syracuse battled #4 Virginia for 40 minutes, holding as much as a five-point lead in the second half only to lose.
The Cavaliers outscored the Orange 17-8 in the final eight minutes to win 67-62.
Syracuse had the ball and an opportunity to tie with one minute remaining.
Then, the play of the game occurred with Virginia ahead 64-62.
The Orange got the ball to Jesse Edwards, but the Syracuse center charged into UVA’s Jayden Gardner as Edwards drove down the baseline to the basket.
The foul was Edwards’ fifth of the game.
Edwards was moving on the baseline where Gardner was planted and took the charge.
On the next possession Gardner nailed a 15-foot jumper to extend the Cavalier lead to 66-62.
Some costly free throw misses and the inability of Syracuse to get a defensive rebound proved fatal. A huge offensive rebound by UVA got the Cavaliers a wide-open three Kihhei Clark and provided UVA a 62-58 advantage with 3:04 left in the game.
Syracuse got some open shots in the second half, they just failed to make enough of them. An enormous difference from the opening half when the Orange converted 16-of-25 from the field.
The Cavaliers weren’t exactly on fire in the second half, but Virginia made shots when they mattered. Armaan Franklin made two huge three-point shots – both on wide-open looks, the first from the wing, the other in the corner that gave UVA a 57-54 lead with 5:54 left.
Clark later made the three-pointer, then the Gardner basket sealed the win for Virginia.
Meanwhile, things were different for Syracuse.
Joe Girard missed a deep three down the stretch, and, gun-shy, passed on another. It wasn’t a particularly great night for Girard, who finished 3-of-12 from the floor and had just seven points.
The Orange had their chances. They just failed to convert them.
The two teams played to a near standstill in the opening half, as both teams shot the ball well. Virginia was 13-of-21 from the floor, including 6-of-10 from three, most of them from out on the wing.
Gardner, who has now put back-to-back solid performances together, scored 10 first-half points for the Wahoos.
Virginia hasn’t lost since a 68-65 defeat at Pittsburgh on Jan. 3, and is now 17-3, 9-2 in ACC play.
Syracuse has been vulnerable on their home floor, going 3-3 at the cavernous JMA Wireless Dome. The Orange fell to 13-10, 6-6 in ACC action.
- Virginia is now 13-6 all-time vs. Syracuse.
- UVA coach Tony Bennett is 12-3 against SU.
- UVA, with seven straight wins, holds the longest active win streak in the ACC.
- Isaac McKneely, who was 2-4 from beyond the arc tonight, is now 16-of-29 from the three-point line in his last seven games.