Syracuse Outlasts Indiana in Double OT Thriller
Syracuse men's basketball beat Indiana despite multiple late game mistakes. WAER's Charlie Ben-Ami details how the Orange overcame multiple blown leads to win a critical non-conference game.
Joe Girard rushed down the floor with reckless abandon, Indiana had just tied the game on a made free throw. As he burrowed down the right lane, he tossed up a layup that wasn’t close to hitting the mark, it didn't matter, he was fouled. The junior, who missed a critical free throw in the closing minutes of the 2nd half, hit both free throws to put the Orange up two, all but ending one of the most exciting yet nerve wracking Syracuse basketball games in recent memory.
The close result was quite a shocking one when looking at the games first half. A half in which Syracuse flat out dominated on both sides of the ball. Despite the strong start SU saw its lead constantly shrink in the 2nd half until a late foul and the free throws that followed sent the Hoosiers and Orange to Overtime. Both overtimes showcased Syracuse’s resolve, the orange fought back from deficits in both periods and eventually sealed the game on the aforementioned Girard free throws.
Syracuse’s first half domination was characterized by two things: The Orange’s strong shooting and the debut of a 1-1-3 zone that proved very effective at times. On offense it was the Boeheim show early on with the brothers scoring the first 13 points for SU. It was a far from a 2 man show, though, as SU combined to shoot 58% from the field and 50% from three in the games first half.
Syracuse’s main objective on defense was to stop IU big man Trayce Jackson Davis. Though Jackson Davis had a strong 1st half and overall game with 31 points and 16 rebounds Syracuse’s defense was solid early. The Orange played a 1-1-3 for much of the first half that put Center Jesse Edwards alone at the bottom of the zone. The Dutch big man responded with a defensive performance that included 3 blocks and 5 steals. Edwards’s performance impact wasn’t felt on defense exclusively. The Center had 17 points on a perfect 7 for 7 from the field on the night. Head Coach Jim Boeheim explained, "It was a 1-1-3. They made adjustments and we came out of it. But it was helpful in the beginning."
Despite going into halftime with a 16 point lead the Orange could not put Indiana away and found themselves in a tie with just under 11 minutes left in the second half. The quick comeback came on the back of an absurd shooting half from the Hoosiers. In the 2nd half IU shot a ridiculous 20 of 27 from the field and 9 of 12 from the three-point line. Syracuse fell back to earth in the 2nd half on offense shooting a little better than 40 percent from the floor.
Still, late in the period it seemed like the Orange would pull out the victory up 6 with 26 seconds left. Trayce Jackson Davis was fouled with 20 seconds left and hit both free throws. After the makes, Jimmy Boeheim was fouled and missed the front end of the one and one. This was immediately followed by a three point make by IU’s Parker Stewart to put the Hoosiers down just one. Cole Swider did his job when fouled immediately after that three hitting both of his free throws to put SU up 3. Syracuse then had a decision to make. Up 3 with 4 seconds left they fouled IU’s Khristian Lander to send him to the line for two free throws. The sophomore hit the first one and missed the 2nd one on purpose. Trayce Jackson Davis, who had left the game with a knee injury just minutes earlier, corralled the rebounds and was fouled by Benny Williams on the put back attempt. He made his 2 free throws, and the game went to Overtime. Despite the result, Boeheim defended his decision to foul, “We've fouled for twenty years, and we've won every game. We gotta get a rebound in that situation."
The overtime periods were just as hectic. In the 1st overtime the Orange and the Hoosiers exchanged made jumpers throughout. Syracuse had possession with just over 30 seconds but were only able to manage a contested Joe Girard three. Indiana had a final shot to put the game away but couldn’t move quick enough and didn’t end up getting a shot off.
The 2nd overtime started inauspiciously for SU with Trayce Jackson Davis finishing an alley oop with a lay up and then dunking all over the Orange to put Indiana up 4. Here an unsung hero came up clutch for Syracuse. Down 4 Frank Anselem kept a possession alive with an offensive rebound which was followed by him getting fouled. He hit both free throws only to get fouled on the very next sequence after a strong defensive rebound. Anselem proved big enough for the moment hitting his 3rd and 4th free throw of the 2nd overtime to tie the game at 101. The Orange got the lead to 4 with less than a minute left but once again struggled to close Indiana out. A Khristian Lander three put IU within one. Jimmy Boeheim hit 2 free throws after the three to put the Orange up three, but Syracuse still had one more lapse of judgement left. Buddy Boeheim fouled IU’s Miller Kopp on a deep fade away three with just 7 seconds left in the 2nd overtime. Kopp hit all three free throws to tie the game. It was all for naught though as Girard drew a foul on the next play and sank the Hoosiers on the free throws that followed.
The win was a big one for Syracuse as it was coming off a disappointing Battle for Atlantis performance and plays Florida State and Villanova in its next 2 games. The win puts the Orange at 4-3 as they enter the first part of their ACC schedule. WAER has coverage of SU and FSU starting at 3:30 p.m this Saturday.