No. 2 Virginia (27-2, 15-2 Conf.) arrived at the Carrier Dome hot off a six-game winning streak and the momentum could not be stopped — but the Orange (19-11, 10-7 Conf) did not go down without a fight. With 18 lead changes, Syracuse squared up with the Cavaliers and went into the second half with a 34-32 lead. It was later in the second half that UVA’s best shooters couldn’t be stopped, pulling ahead in the last 15 minutes and finishing with a devastating 79-53 win.
The Cavaliers, known for its tough defense, has kept opponents to less than 61 points in recent games. But it’ not just their steely defense the Orange had to work around -- Their offense has also developed an impressive offensive front featuring its own Big Three: Ty Jerome, D’Andre Hunter and Kyle Guy. Junior guard Guy was unstoppable, shooting 80% from the three and led the team in rebounds. The trio of star players cumulatively scored 62 points over the course of the game.
Paschal Chukwu led the Orange in scoring in the first half, making his first shots less than a minute into the game. Elijah Hughes was the other Orangeman to watch, scoring 11 points and shooting 50% from the field. But Syracuse’s offense fell asleep in the second half, going a full five minutes without scoring. Even Tyus Battle, who in the UNC and Duke games was able to keep the Orange competitive, had little success tonight. But in the end, the Cavaliers’ three-pointers propelled UVA to the win, all together making 18 shots from the three.
In a press conference following the game, Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim commended UVA and it’s phenomenal offense.
“They shot the ball as good as I’ve ever seen it shot … they just took over and dominated in the second half. They shot it well and their defense picked up, and we had no answers for it.”
This Saturday the Orange will face off with Clemson in South Carolina for its last game of the regular season. Tune in to 88.3 FM at 11:30 a.m. for WAER’s Countdown to Tip-Off.