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Tuesday, Mar 05, 2019 at 1:18 am

Men’s Basketball Falls to No. 2 Virginia in Three Point Frenzy

By Luke McGrath

CitrusTV Reporter

There’s hot shooting performances and then there’s what Virginia (27-2, 15-2 Atlantic Coast) did to Syracuse (19-11, 10-7 ACC) Monday night in the Carrier Dome. The Cavaliers shot an astonishing 18-25 from distance, defeating the Orange 79-53.

The Wahoos were shooting so well from behind the arc that counting their three pointers alone would have taken down the Orange by one point. Virginia’s junior guard Kyle Guy had 25 points going 8-10 from deep, a career-high in three pointers made.

Ty Jerome and De’Andre Hunter, who combined to go 10-13 from beyond the arc, complemented Guy, who said the team always believes it can get hot from deep.

“We carry a chip on our shoulder, we’re a very confident group, humble, but very, very confident,” Guy said. “I guess we were in the zone.”

Even before Monday nights eye-popping 72% three-point performance, Virginia was atop the ACC in three point field goal percentage at 40.8%. Jim Boeheim was quick to acknowledge the talent of this year’s Virginia team, who has now won seven-straight ACC games.

“It’s a team that I have a lot of respect for, I think it’s the best team I’ve seen at Virginia by a lot in my mind because of the experience the guards have now,” Boeheim said.

Those guards (Guy, Jerome and Hunter) combined to score 78% of Virginia’s points on Monday and drew high praise from their head coach Tony Bennett following the game.

“They caught lightning in a bottle,” Bennett said. “They work so hard on their game, they’re good young men, they’re about the right stuff, they play unselfish basketball… there’s some maturity and that’s a good formula us.”

For SU, the grueling stretch of three top-five teams in four games is over. For Boeheim, the takeaway is that the Orange are not good enough to play at that level… yet.

“We’re not as good as they are, you know that’s the bottom line. We played pretty well against Duke, really well at North Carolina, we had a good first half [Monday], we’re not better than these teams, we’re not even close,” Boeheim said. “But that doesn’t mean you can’t be a good team.”

Against these top-five teams, SU led all three at the half before eventually dropping all three games. Freshman guard Buddy Boeheim said it’s a matter of keeping the offense moving and not settling for bad shots.

“It’s almost like we’re, I wouldn’t say losing focus, but we’re just not doing what we should be doing and we’re not moving on offense, I think that’s one of the biggest things is we’re stagnant and we’re trying to go one on one,” Buddy said. “ We gotta learn how to keep moving, getting each other open and just staying solid on defense and not forget what we did in the first half.”

Virginia was no exception for the Orange in the recent tale of two halves. SU scored 34 first half points against the second best defense in the country, according to the Kenpom rankings. But Syracuse scored just 19 second half points, shooting 27% from the field.

The Orange will play their final regular season game on the road against Clemson on Saturday at 12 p.m. SU looks to secure its 11th conference win and boost its NCAA Tournament resume.

Lumcgrat@syr.edu | @L_McGrath14