Grove Header- White.png
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Struggling Syracuse men's basketball hosts red-hot Virginia

Screen Shot 2023-01-30 at 2.52.14 PM.png
Virginia’s Reece Beekman (White) closes out Syracuse’s Joe Girard (Orange).

At the start of January, Syracuse headed to Charlottesville, VA., having won seven of its last eight contests. This streak included back-to-back wins in conference play. In addition, Virginia entered fresh off a three-point loss at Pittsburgh. What seemed like a prime opportunity for a road win over a ranked opponent did not pan out for the Orange. UVA never trailed en route to a 73-66 victory over SU.

Syracuse was severely outplayed three weeks ago. The Orange at one point trailed the Cavaliers by 23 points. On the offensive side of the ball, a few SU players still brought their best stuff on the road. Joe Girard led all scorers with 19 points and Judah Mintz tacked on 18 of his own. Benny Williams notably missed this first SU versus UVA contest of the year, paving more room for Maliq Brown. Although John Bol Ajak did receive the start, the freshman Brown played over thirty minutes for the first time in his career. The Virginia native paid off his Jim Boeheim’s decision with ten points offensively.

Screen Shot 2023-01-30 at 2.52.45 PM.png
Maliq Brown (Orange) prepares for action against Virginia.

Defensively, there were few bright spots, however. Despite holding veteran guard Kihei Clark to just five points, five other UVA players tallied double figures against the ‘Cuse. Armaan Franklin led the day for the Cavaliers with 16 points and four made threes. As a team, Virginia hit 12 triples on just 26 attempts against Syracuse.

Franklin and the Cavaliers have not slowed down since defeating the Orange either. The victory over SU sparked a 6-game win streak that UVA carries into the Dome. The senior guard has scored in double figures across all six of those victories. The entire Virginia offense has clicked over the past three games. UVA has scored more than 70 points in each of those three matchups. Tony Bennett’s squads have never been known for their offense though. Defense has been a staple in the 14 years under Bennett for the Cavaliers, and this season is no different. UVA has allowed more than 70 points just once all season. It is safe to say that No. 7 Virginia (16-3, 8-2 ACC) presents an even tougher challenge this time around for SU.

Now, the Orange enter a second matchup with the Cavaliers in a worse spot. Syracuse (13-9, 6-5 ACC) has lost three of its past four games, all three of which were quad-1 opportunities. The one positive outlook for SU fans is that the Orange are 9-4 inside the Dome. It will take a special effort to knock off a ranked Virginia squad that SU has not beaten in the Dome since 2017. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. and action on WAER begins at 6:30 for McClurg Team Countdown to Tipoff.