The Orange concluded 2017 with an impressive 68-56 win over Virginia Tech at the Carrier Dome to improve to 12-2 on the season.
Syracuse attacked the interior of the Hokies defense effectively with great passing and numerous floaters and finishes at the rim. The tallest man on the floor for Virginia Tech at times was 6’6″ junior forward Chris Clarke and the Orange took advantage. Freshman Oshae Brissett finished with 19 points and 9 rebounds and sophomore Tyus Battle and junior Frank Howard contributed 17 points each. Howard made 3 three pointers in the first half.
Freshman guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker was the main bright spot for the Hokies finishing with 19 points and 4 three pointers. Syracuse’s defense held Virginia Tech in check as they shot well under their 55% field goal shooting average and 44% three-point shooting average. The Hokies shot 35% from the field and 33% from three.
Syracuse redshirt freshman Matthew Moyer enjoyed one of his best performances of the year with 11 points and a career high 13 rebounds. Moyer impressed with various hustle plays and nice finishes at the bucket. It also seems as if coach Jim Boeheim is trying to set up more offensive looks for Moyer. On a couple occasions Moyer had the ball at the top of the three point line and the Orange cleared the right side of the floor for him. The first time Moyer drove to the hoop and got fouled. The second time Moyer passed the ball to a teammate. Freshman forward Marek Dolezaj mimicked Moyer with big effort plays on both ends of the floor. Towards the end of the first half Dolezaj stole the ball under the Hokies hoop and on the ensuing Orange possession he dove on the floor to secure a loose ball that resulted in a Battle three-point bucket.
Syracuse took a 32-19 lead into the half. The 19 points is the lowest scoring output in a half by Virginia Tech this season.
The Hokies started the second half strong on a 12-0 run behind 2 three pointers from senior guard Justin Bibbs to cut the lead to 34-31. Early in the second half a series of plays reminded fans that ACC play has started and that the stakes have been raised for the rest of the season. Howard was charged with a flagrant 1 foul when he grabbed senior Justin Bibbs on a loose ball. Shortly after, Oshae Brissett and Hokies junior guard Jerome Robinson were given a double technical during a verbal exchange after Robinson fouled Brissett.
The Orange answered Virginia Tech’s run with an 11-0 run of their own that was capped off by a Battle 3 pointer. Syracuse held a comfortable lead for the majority of the second half.
Hokies coach Buzz Williams called for his team to full court press around the 7 minute mark and it was ineffective at first as the Orange extended the lead to 62-44. Eventually the press got to Syracuse for a short stretch and Virginia Tech caused a few turnovers and cut the lead to 66-54 but it was too little too late.
- Freshman Bourama Sidibe participated in some light warm-ups before the game but did not play for the second straight game
- Syracuse outrebounded Virginia Tech 39-26
- Syracuse shot 17-20 from the free throw line
Up next: Syracuse plays at Wake Forest (7-6) at 7pm EST on Wednesday