Saturday evening Syracuse hoops notched their biggest win so far this season with a 63-55 overtime victory over 18th ranked Virginia.
As expected, both teams displayed their slow and methodical offenses complemented by disciplined and hard-nose defense. At times the rock fight of a game looked more like a noon Big 10 football game than it did a basketball game.
Every offensive possession felt a crucial trip down the floor due to the suffocating defense that was being played by both teams. Though, it was Virginia’s nine first half turnovers that gave Syracuse an early edge and reason to believe that a possible upset was brewing in Charlottesville.
The defending champs did not back down at the sight of adversity and instead took a second half lead of their own after taking Syracuse’s best shot.
Foul trouble for Syrauce turned momentum in favor of the Cavaliers and eventually lead to a 15-2 run for Virginia, who lead 35-30 with just about 10 minutes to play in regulation.
With the Syracuse bigs back in the game, Syracuse was able to come back and tie the game courtesy of a Joe Girard III three-pointer. Over the next 5-plus minutes the score stayed deadlocked at 35 all, in typical Syracuse-Virginia fashion.
Some would call it poor offense others would call it great defense, but the score stayed deadlocked at 43-43 for the final minute of regulation which brought on a 5 minute overtime period.
The Orange finally got cooking on the offensive end in overtime with threes from Elijah Hughes and Girard III; and finally Buddy Boeheim’s dispersion heave from nearly half court which banked into the basket as the shot clock expired.
Coach Jim Boeheim spoke of his son’s circus shot after the game saying, “He just threw it. I didn’t think for a second it was going to go in.”
Buddy’s shot put the exclamation point on the upset victory over the defending champs as well as his 14 total points on the night.
Girard II had a game-high 19 points and Hughes was right behind him with 18.
The Orange will be back home Wednesday night as they host Boston College.