Slow Start Hurts Syracuse in 73-66 Defeat to Virginia
By Samuel Reis | @SamuelReisTV
Citrus TV Reporter
CHARLOTTESVILLE, V.A. – With 15:24 remaining in the second half in Saturday evening’s contest between Syracuse and No. 11 Virginia, Ben Vander Plas knocked down a three to give the Cavaliers a 50-27 lead. That 23 point advantage for UVA proved to be insurmountable for the Orange. Despite a respectable comeback effort, another slow start for SU proved to be costly.
Virginia took control from the jump, getting off to a quick 11-2 lead courtesy of three triples from Armaan Franklin and a Jayden Gardner jumper. Syracuse managed to wake up in the latter stages of the first half with Judah Mintz scoring the last four points of the half amidst an 8-0 run. However, the Orange dug themselves into another hole to start the second half and a late run sparked by Joe Girard was not enough as Syracuse (10-6, 3-2 Atlantic Coast) fell 73-66 to Virginia (11-3, 3-2 Atlantic Coast).
Scoring droughts were an issue for Syracuse at multiple points of the game. After coming within nine points of Virginia at the half, the Orange failed to score for the first 4:20 of the second half. During that time, the Cavaliers extended their lead to 21. Virginia experienced their own drought later in the half, not scoring for nearly eight minutes. At this point of the game Judah Mintz and Joe Girard finally started making shots, finishing with 18 and 19 points, respectively.
While Virginia experienced a drought of its own at one point, it still found a way to capitalize from beyond the arc throughout the night. UVA hit 12 threes with Armaan Franklin going 4-9. He led the way for the Cavaliers scoring 16 points in a game that saw four Virginia players score in double figures.
Mistakes offensively were damaging for SU, turning the ball over 16 times. Virginia scored 23 points off of those turnovers. Beyond giving the ball away, Syracuse also missed some shots from close range. After the game, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim critiqued his team’s inability to finish down low.
“We just made so many mistakes that we really haven’t been making. We missed two layups, Jesse [Edwards] missed two, Joe [Girard] missed two in the first half,” Boeheim said.
Jesse Edwards had a quiet performance, scoring just four points and tallying three assists. Additionally, SU was without Benny Williams, who had to sit out the game with an illness. That resulted in the first career start for John Bol Ajak. Even with the start, Ajak only played four minutes.
After Syracuse’s first loss of the new year and second loss in conference play, the Orange will head back home and take on a Virginia Tech team that is 11-5 overall and 1-4 in the A.C.C. That game will tip off at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 11 from inside the Dome.
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