Sat, 06 Mar 2021

Syracuse to visit No. 13 Virginia full of confidence

Field Level Media
25 Jan 2021, 04:40 GMT+10

Syracuse's victory against No. 16 Virginia Tech on Saturday was its first against a ranked opponent in more than a year, the last one a 63-55 overtime win at Virginia on Jan. 11, 2020.

The Orange (9-4, 3-3 ACC) will look to make it two in a row against Top 25 foes when they visit the No. 13 Cavaliers (10-2, 6-0) at Charlottesville, Va., on Monday night.

Quincy Guerrier led four Syracuse players in double figures with 20 points in Saturday's 78-60 home win against the Hokies. Alan Griffin posted a double-double (15 points, 10 rebounds) and a career-high seven blocks, Marek Dolezaj added 18 points while playing the full 40 minutes, and Kadary Richmond added 13 off the bench.

It was the second straight quality win for a Syracuse squad trying to boost its NCAA Tournament chances, following an 83-57 romp against Miami on Tuesday.

"We've had two good games," Orange coach Jim Boeheim said. "Miami's a good team. They've beaten some people and come really close in a lot. It's two good games. That helps."

Syracuse's defense passed the test in both wins, holding the Hurricanes and Hokies to a combined 35.9 percent shooting from the field and 22.2 percent (12 of 54) from 3-point range.

"It's huge for us," Dolezaj said after the Virginia Tech win. "We needed to beat someone good. It's great for our resume."

That resume would gain a massive boost with another upset Monday on the road against the conference-leading Cavaliers, who are still technically the defending national champions. They won the 2019 title and there was no NCAA Tournament last season.

Virginia is riding a six-game winning streak and has won 14 consecutive ACC games dating back to last season. The Cavaliers are also 6-0 at home this season.

After smashing Clemson by 35 points in its previous game, Virginia rallied from 11 down in the second half to escape with a 64-62 win Saturday night against visiting Georgia Tech.

Sam Hauser and Jay Huff combined for 40 of Virginia's points, but it was Kihei Clark's only bucket of the game (he finished 1 for 10) that provided the winning margin with just over a minute to play.

"Kihei struggled at times, but boy did he make a tough, tough shot," UVA coach Tony Bennett said of Clark's short, step-back jumper in the lane.

Clark, who added a season-high eight assists, has only turned the ball over eight times during the six-game winning streak.

"He's got ice in his veins, and I trust him more than anybody in a lot of ways," added Huff, whose late blocked shot -- his fifth of the night -- preserved the win. "He makes big plays for us, and he always has."

Buddy Boeheim made the big plays for Syracuse when these teams met a year ago, scoring nine of his 14 points in overtime as the Orange pulled away for the victory at Virginia.

Boeheim, one of several Syracuse players to test positive for COVID-19 during the program's December pause, is shooting a career-worst 28.8 percent from 3-point distance this season. He was 1 of 5 from behind the arc and 3 of 13 overall against Virginia Tech on Saturday.

--Field Level Media

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