Although their tournament hopes had already been dashed (barring an ACC Tournament Title), Syracuse was hoping to end their regular season on a strong note, playing the Miami Hurricanes who were without their leading scorer Chris Lykes.
The Watsco Center was filled with many Syracuse fans, the amount even surprising the announcers. However, even that advantage wasn’t enough as the Orange fell in overtime, 69-65.
The game was ugly early on, and Buddy Boeheim hit a buzzer beating three at the end of the first half to cut the score to 26-24 Miami. It was their first made basket in the final 30 seconds before halftime all season, per Matthew Gutierrez.
The big story of the second half was Elijah Hughes’s absence, as he sat on the bench the entire second half and OT with a hood over his head. Hughes collided with Bourama Sidibe, with Sidibe’s knee giving Hughes a possible concussion. Coach Boeheim said Hughes “was a little bit dizzy, a little blurry”, and the medical staff ultimately decided to keep him out for the remainder of the game.
Quincy Gurrier and Jesse Edwards took the bulk of the minutes in his place, and both played well given the circumstances. It was a tight second half, with both teams trading baskets in the final minutes.
With Syracuse down 4, Joe Girard drove and made a layup to cut it to 2 with ten seconds left. Syracuse then fouled Miami’s Sam Waardenburg, who missed his free throw. Girard came up clutch again on the other end, tying the game with a free throw line jumper. The game went to overtime.
Although Syracuse was able to keep the game close in the extra period, Miami hung on for the victory with great free throw shooting, hanging on to win 69-65.
Syracuse ends their regular season with a record of 17-14, 10-10 in the ACC, and will be the 6-seed in the upcoming conference Tournament in Greensboro, NC. They will play the winner of Virginia Tech/North Carolina on Wednesday March 11th. The game is scheduled to tip off at 9 pm, broadcasted on ESPN2.