Syracuse goes nuclear in OT, tops Virginia, 63-55
Syracuse shot 25.9 percent in regulation, missed 14 of its last 17 shots. So naturally, the Orange connected on six of their seven shots in OT, five from three.
That’s how the latest mystifying Virginia loss, this one a 63-55 final, went down.
The ‘Hoos (11-4, 3-2 ACC) had one slight burst offensively, a 12-0 run over a 3:39 stretch that ended with UVA up 35-30 with 12:03 to go.
The Cavaliers would shoot 3-of-18 from the floor from there, but because Syracuse (9-7, 2-3 ACC) had its own troubles finding the broadsides of any nearby barns, the game came down to a final possession in regulation, and an open Kihei Clark three, with six seconds left.
It missed, as you knew it would, and the game went to overtime.
Virginia got first blood in the extra five minutes, on a Mamadi Diakite driving layup, but it was all Syracuse from there.
Elijah Hughes hit a three on the Orange’s next possession, then, after a Kody Stattmann miss, it was Joseph Girard.
A Clark turnover led to a runout that ended with a Buddy Boeheim three, and it was 52-45 ‘Cuse on the 9-0 run.
Virginia would twice get the margin back to five, but a Boeheim wing and prayer – a 40-footer that he flung in the general direction of the basket after chasing down a loose ball as the shot clock expired – would make it 57-49 Syracuse with 1:19 to go.
Virginia had plenty of opportunities, but as has been the case with this team this season, it was the inability to get anything going from the perimeter that was the undoing.
UVA was just 7-of-31 from three-point range on the game, and finished 31.3 percent (21-of-67) from the field overall.
This despite massive foul trouble for Syracuse, particularly in the post, as the Orange lost Bourama Sidebe to fouls, and had to get big minutes in the second half and OT from Marek Dolezaj and Quincy Garrier with four fouls.
Among the oddities in this one for Virginia: Jay Huff had, from the numbers, a solid game – 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting and 10 rebounds in a career-high 40 minutes of floor time, but it felt like Huff was a liability.
The 7’1” junior had four turnovers, was 2-for-7 from the free-throw line – 0-for-5 in regulation, with one charity toss lost to a lane violation, as Huff battled a major case of the yips in his form – and didn’t look fluid or comfortable even when he was getting the ball to go in the hoop.
Diakite had 13 points and eight rebounds, and Clark also had 13 points, nine assists and six rebounds, but Clark was 4-for-14 from the floor, and missed eight of his last nine shots, including the potential game-winner at the end of regulation.
Braxton Key had seven points and 11 rebounds for Virginia, which has now lost two straight, and it feels like the season is a bit on the verge now, considering the way things have gone the past five days.
Story by Chris Graham
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