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Liberty Runs Syracuse Out of Their Own Building

Posted on October 17, 2020 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (0)

  Article by Dan Tortora

  The Syracuse Orange entered this their third home game inside of the new-look Dome in need of some momentum with the Clemson Tigers on the horizon.

  Liberty, on the other hand, came into the Dome with nothing to lose, and a 4-0 start.

  The Liberty Flames fell to the Syracuse Orange last season at home, 24-0, but in that contest, the Orange relied on three players that are not on the roster this season, those being Moe Neal, Abdul Adams, and Jarveon Howard, who all ran for a touchdown in that game.

  Liberty intercepted Syracuse quarterback Tommy DeVito twice in that game, and DeVito did not throw a single touchdown.

  This time around, the scenery is different on the field, but not just because of the new-look Dome. Redshirt-senior Rex Culpepper has taken over for an injured DeVito and true freshman Sean Tucker is now the lead back for the Orange, who are in need of a win at 1-3 on the season.

  Syracuse began the game running the ball on their first series, with Tucker taking the first play of the game three yards and the second rush six yards. On 3rd-&-1 though, the Orange did not hand it to Tucker for the lone yard. Instead, they attempted a pass and the possession ended in a three-and-out.

  Redshirt-junior quarterback Malik Willis attempted two passes and redshirt-senior running back Peytton Pickett carried the ball once for no gain on Liberty's own three-and-out on their first drive of the game as well.

  The Orange offense seemed to wake up on their second drive, taking a nine-play drive into the end zone when Culpepper found junior wide receiver Taj Harris for a 17-yard touchdown, giving Syracuse the first lead of the game, 7-0, at the 8:32 mark of the first half.

  Culpepper went 5-for-6 on the drive, connecting with Harris, redshirt-sophomore wide receiver Anthony Queeley, and senior wide receiver Nykeim Johnson. 

  Tucker's 11-yard run got the Orange to the Flames' 17-yard line on the play right before Culpepper found Harris for the score.

  Liberty took three players no where in their first drive, as aforementioned. On their second drive, it only took them two plays to attain their first points of the contest. After Willis' pass fell incomplete, sophomore running back Shedro Louis found a lane and took off. Syracuse defenders took bad angles on Louis and he made them pay, turning on the turbo jets en route to a 75-yard touchdown run, equalizing the game at 7-7 just 18 seconds after the Orange scored, at the 8:14 mark.

  Culpepper would go 2-for-5 on Syracuse's second drive of the game and would receive pressure that he tried to get his foot out of on third down, but Liberty held on and took him to the ground for a 16-yard loss on a sack that led to a punt by the Orange.

  The Flames ran a near-perfect drive to follow this punt, with Willis going 4-for-4 and rushing the ball forward seven times, ending with a quarterback keeper by Willis for a four-yard score to give Liberty their first lead of the game, 14-7, right before the end of the first quarter, with 28 seconds remaining.

  Early in the second half, Syracuse would punt the ball away, but they would catch a break when redshirt-freshman Demario Douglas fumbled the attempted return and sophomore wide receiver Isaiah Jones out of Cocoa, Florida, recovered the ball for the Orange on the Flames' 14-yard line.

  Syracuse's offense, however, would continue their theme of not capitalizing on turnovers this season when they would fail to gain a first down on a 4th-&-1 rush by Tucker, turning the ball over on downs at the Liberty five-yard line.

  A sack by true freshman linebacker Marlowe Wax would bail out the Orange, forcing the Flames' second three-and-out drive of the game.

  Syracuse went "three-and-in" on the drive that ensued, their sixth drive of the first half, scoring on their third play when Culpepper found senior tight end Aaron Hackett for a 12-yard pass play, tying the game at 14-apiece with 9:21 left on the second-quarter clock. The Orange ran the ball on the other two plays of this drive, with Tucker gaining 20 yards and four yards, respectively.

  However, just as they did in the first quarter, Liberty responded immediately, scoring on their next drive. With Syracuse struggling to stop the run, Liberty went right back to it, with Willis carrying the ball on the first play of the drive for 17 yards and the second play for four yards, followed by Louis breaking out and showing his speed once again, this time for a 57-yard score, raising the Flames to a 21-14 advantage with 7:49 to go before halftime.

  The Orange would have no response on offense, punting on a three-and-out drive that saw intentional grounding called on Culpepper on third down.

  Willis went 2-for-3 on his pass attempts and Liberty carried the ball as a team 10 times on their next drive, but Willis would fumble near the Syracuse end zone, with the fumble being forced and recovered by sophomore linebacker Mikel Jones.

  The Flames did eat almost six minutes off the clock on this drive, though, giving the Orange 29 seconds to work with before half. Syracuse would run the ball and the time out, gaining no points off of this turnover by Liberty. 

  Essentially, losing the ball may have cost them another score, but it did not result in them giving up any points to Syracuse, as the teams went into the half locked at 21-14 Liberty.

  Liberty came into the second half with their Flames still burning bright, scoring on their opening drive of the half on a 36-yard toss from Willis to senior wide receiver DJ Stubbs on a play where Willis saw Stubbs heading toward the end zone and let it fly, with Stubbs catching the ball like it was practice, moving Liberty out to a 28-14 lead with 12:55 on the third-quarter clock.

  The Orange were faced with a 4th-&-2 situation on their first drive of the second half, and Culpepper found Nykeim Johnson for a four-yard gain to keep the drive alive. Culpepper would go 4-for-7 on ths drive but Syracuse would not get past the Liberty 48-yard line, punting the ball away.

  Syracuse's defense would force Liberty to punt it back to their offense on the next drive, but the Orange offense would give the ball right back when Culpepper let the ball hang out closer to the Flames than his intended receiver, Harris, and sophomore cornerback Chris Megginson would make the most of this opportunity, intercepting Culpepper on the Flames' 41-yard line.

  Liberty would run yet another almost perfection  possession, with Willis going 4-for-4 and Pickett would head into the end zone on a 16-yard carry that spread the Flames out to a 35-14 lead on the Orange with 2:58 left in the third quarter.

  On Syracuse's third drive of the second half, Culpepper launched to Harris with a beautiful ball that came down into the hands of Harris... then hit the ground. This drop was the difference between the Orange being close to the Flames' 10-yard and what the drive became, which was a punt back to the Flames.

  The quarter would come to a close seeing Syracuse down by 21 at home to an independent Liberty.

  Sophomore linebacker Lee Kpogba recorded his first collegiate sack when he took down Willis on the Flames' next drive for a loss of five yards; Liberty would end up punting on that drive.

  Another first happened for the Orange on their following offensive possession, when redshirt-sophomore wide receiver Anthony Queeley caught his first touchdown pass of his college career on a 21-yard play that made it 35-21 Flames with 8:45 to play in the contest.

  Syracuse tried an onside kick to follow, but did not convert it, with redshirt-junior wide receiver Brody Brumm securing the ball for Liberty on the Syracuse 46-yard line.

  Orange head coach Dino Babers took his final timeout of the half with 5:24 to go.

  The Flames came out of the timeout making a 20-yard field goal by senior kicker Alex Barbir to move them out to a 17-point advantage, 38-21, with 5:20 to go in the game.

  On the next opportunity for the Orange offense, Culpepper attempted a pass over the middle to redshirt-freshman wide receiver Courtney Jackson, who had the ball go through his hands. That miss would bring up 4th-&-10 where Culpepper's short pass attempt would head out-of-bounds and Syracuse would turn the ball over on downs on their own 49-yard line with 4:46 to play.

  With a 4th-&-1 situation inside three minutes, the Orange defense had a chance to make a stop, and did not, as Willis kept the ball for a five-yard gain to the Syracuse 35-yard line and a first down.

  Liberty followed this run by Willis by taking three knees and securing their road win over Syracuse, 38-21, to improve to 5-0 on the season.

  The Orange continue to roll downhill, now 1-4 overall, 0-1 against non-conference and 1-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).

  Syracuse allowed over 200 yards more to Liberty on offense than they achieved themselves, despite having almost exactly the same amount of plays: The Orange went 308 yards on 67 plays while the Flames amounted 520 yards on 68 plays.

  Culpepper ended the game 19-for-40 (47.5%), with receivers adding to the lowering of this percentage due to dropped balls. He passed for more yards than Willis, 211 to 182.

  The glaring difference offensively was the Orange allowing 338 rushing yards by the Flames while gaining under 100 themselves, at 97.

  Louis accumulated 170 yards on 10 carries for 17 yards per carry and two touchdowns to lead Liberty, followed by Pickett who took 23 carries 115 yards for five yards per carry and one touchdown, and quarterback Willis gained 58 yards on 12 carries for 4.8 yards per carry and a score.

  They held onto the ball almost the same amount of time, 30:29 for Liberty to 29:31 for Syracuse, but Liberty simply did more with their time.

  A lot more.

Dino Babers Addresses Practice Stoppages & Moving Forward

Posted on August 17, 2020 at 1:05 PM Comments comments (0)

  Article by Dan Tortora

  Syracuse Orange head football coach Dino Babers, embarking on his fifth season overseeing the orange and blue, gave some of his time to a media zoom call following Syracuse student-athletes sitting out a few scheduled practices

  Football student-athletes at Syracuse had elected not to practice Thursday, August 6th, and Friday, August 7th, amidst concerns, and would sit out for consecutive days once again on Thursday, August 13th, and Friday, August 14th.

  When I had the opportunity to speak with Babers following these two instances of halted practice, he shared, "I think they've handled it well. They basically said certain things and we dropped the ball on the one thing and they were right."

  "And we froze practice until we cleaned it up."

  As far as what that "one thing" was that Syracuse dropped the ball on, Babers offered, "The big thing was we had gone from we were testing every two weeks and the players asked...we had a meeting not in our meeting room because we wanted to have social-distancing and we had a meeting in our very spacious indoor with everybody separated...and I had the microphone and they asked me a question that I didn't have the technical answer to."

  "I asked a person that works for me and they answered without the microphone and with the air-conditioners running and the giant fans and stuff, I looked at him. I really didn't hear the answer, but I thought I heard the answer. But I really didn't hear the answer."

  "Then, we came back and he checked with somebody and they said, 'No, we can't do that,' and it never got back to me that we couldn't do that," Babers went on to say.

  "I actually forgot, too, because we were under a strict two-week boom. boom. boom. And what they asked us to do was go to one week, so then we went to one week and when the date hit, we didn't test. And they (the players) called us on it, and rightfully so."

  "The facts are the facts," Babers remarked. "We didn't do it. We had gone, I would say six weeks without a positive, so we had gone a long period of time and we were in camp mode. So they (the players) went and they called us on it and they were right. We stopped practice, and until we got everybody tested clean, we weren't gonna start practice again because that's what we agreed to."

  Adjusting to everything has been difficult for us all, as things can seem to change sometimes daily or weekly. "There's never been a year like this, so forget about those old playbooks. Forget about the old schedules," said Babers. "This is straight heartbreak ridge. If you do not adjust and improvise, you are gonna get left behind in 2020."

  "You're gonna have to flexible to survive this pandemic and survive this year... but, you need to also be rooted, because if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for everything."

  Since the two stoppages in practice here in August, Babers expressed, "Practice has been running really well. The guys have been active. Obviously, they've been doing their part when they're out there and hopefully we're gonna continue to have a lot more practices like that."

  When addressing my question on the climate of college football right now with some conferences trying to play and others either not playing at all or postponing to Spring 2021, Babers stated, "I can't talk for everyone else. I can only speak for Syracuse...I feel like the atmosphere here and the safety things that we're trying to get done at Syracuse for our players are really, really good."

  Babers referenced the number 1,450 tests in connection to what Syracuse University has done so far for COVID-19 testing for the Orange football team. 

  "I think we have the right format. A lot of other schools are having success with their format as well. We just hope that all this stuff continues as students start to come back to campus, and ours are starting to come back and it's good to see 'em."

  "All of our students, as far as I know, are 14-day quarantine before they're even allowed to go into their dorm rooms, so we're doing a lot of extreme stuff here at Syracuse to try to keep the learning environment and the student-athletes all safe," said Babers. "We really feel that...we may be a little bias, but we feel like they may be a little bit safer here on campus."

  "We feel like we're doing a good job," Babers expressed. "We're gonna cross T's and dot I's and hopefully not stub our toe anymore and hopefully keep continuing to work toward the start of the ACC season."

  Babers is not only hoping and relying on himself, his staff, and the football student-athletes to do the right thing, he is relying on the entire student body and surrounding community. "That's gonna be the real key," Babers noted.

  "What they do at night reflects what's going to happen to them during the day."

  He knows that he, as well as anyone else, cannot be up all night checking up on everyone. "I can't stay up that many hours. I go to bed early at 9:30[pm]... I really believe that everybody's gonna be good during the day, but what are they gonna be doing during the night?"

  Put simply, if you want football, or life to return to any type of what we are used to, we all have to do our part.

  Central New York is tough.

  We have been through many things in history.

  And when it comes to safety, it is not good enough to simply take care of yourself. We must also be cognizant of what is going on around us and that it takes a community of people to tear something down, or to build something up.

"It's Safer to be an Athlete at Syracuse University Than to Walk Around the State of New York"

Posted on August 10, 2020 at 1:05 PM Comments comments (0)

  Article by Dan Tortora

  Syracuse Orange head football coach Dino Babers met with us in the media safely and socially-distanced on a video call today, August 10th.

  The timing of this call threw Babers into the eye of the storm that is sports and coronavirus right now.

  All coaches, players, athletic directors, presidents, and chancellors share the same seat currently as we all try to navigate COVID-19 and its threat to our well-being as well as to the things we love, like a Saturday on the gridiron.

  When I had the opportunity to speak with Babers about what he thought about the rumors that some conferences, like the Big Ten and PAC-12, might cancel their season, he shared that Syracuse Orange football is "status quo right now."

  Speaking on the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), where Syracuse University calls home for all sports, Babers offered, "Our conference is saying it's a go. Until they tell us it's not a go, we're gonna get ready to play some football."

  "And I don't think the attitude should be any different from my pay grade down. We're gonna be ready to go. If they say, 'Go', we go. If they say, 'No', we don't".

  In regards to my question on how he is keeping the team focused amidst all of the talk of whether or not there will be a college football season here in 2020, Babers responded, "I'll tell you right now, practices have been amazing," Babers expressed. "The kids that have been out at practice have been... the effort, based off of all the stuff that's gone on, I almost feel like it's been a release that they can actually lose themselves and do something that they really enjoy with a bunch of guys that are all COVID-free and running around and having fun."

  "The practices that we've been able to do have been some of the best practices we've had in a long time here."

  Addressing the media, Babers would go on to say, "We don't get to tell the ACC what we want them to do," stating that when a final decision is made on the season, it will be above his pay grade.

  Babers shared that he addressed concerns that members of his football team had before he had them go out onto the practice field. "We need to make sure you guys have peace in your minds long before we go on the practice field."

  "We're gonna listen to our players," Babers made clear. "They have an important voice and their voices need to be heard."

  As far as if Babers had seen the comments made by Clemson University Tigers' quarterback Trevor Lawrence on Lawrence's desire to have a 2020 season, Babers replied, "I did read Trevor Lawrence's statement... I'm not ready to share an opinion on it," with Babers' reasoning being that he does not believe coaches should talk about other coaches' players.

  Lawrence, a quarterback in the same conference (ACC) and division within the conference (Atlantic) as Syracuse had posted onto his Twitter account, @Trevorlawrencee, on Sunday, August 9th, "People are at just as much, if not more risk, if we don’t play. Players will all be sent home to their own communities where social distancing is highly unlikely and medical care and expenses will be placed on the families if they were to contract covid19."

  He continued with, "Not to mention the players coming from situations that are not good for them / their future and having to go back to that. Football is a safe haven for so many people. We are more likely to get the virus in everyday life than playing football. Having a season also incentivizes players being safe and taking all of the right precautions to try to avoid contracting covid because the season/ teammates safety is on the line. Without the season, as we’ve seen already, people will not social distance or wear masks and take the proper precautions."

  Babers echoed those sentiments when he said on our media call, "Right now, it's safer to be an athlete at Syracuse University than to walk around the state of New York."

  Onondaga County, the county where Syracuse University is located, is reporting less than 1% of COVID-19 tests are coming back positive, a trend that has been going on for weeks in New York State and in this county.

  "If you're gonna do a Final Four... I believe we'd be in the Final Four and competing for a championship," Babers exclaimed when speaking on the numbers that Syracuse University has recorded from their COVID-19 testing.

  Babers stated that because Syracuse University is a private institution he cannot disclose publicly those testing numbers, but he does believe they would hold up with anyone right now in the country, including the University of Michigan Wolverines' football team.

  Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh released his numbers, sharing that the team "had 11 positive tests out of 893 administered, including three upon initial return to campus."

  Harbaugh went on to state, "We have had two positive tests out of the last 417 administered" and "We have had zero positive tests out of the last 353 administered," when speaking on Michigan.

  During our media call, though he was mum on the numbers at Syracuse, Babers said that after hearing Michigan's numbers, "We're still in the Final Four. We know we're in. Hopefully Michigan's in, too, but we know we're in," when it comes to Syracuse's COVID-19 testing.

  "I think we really need to play... if we can do it safely," Babers remarked.

  Now the heads of the conferences around the country have to decide if they can do exactly that.

  And the hopes of coaches, student-athletes, and fans are all hanging in the balance.

  I have never wanted to hear a whistle to start a game so bad, until now.

Malik Zachery Extends Final 3 to Final 4

Posted on April 10, 2020 at 5:55 PM Comments comments (0)

  Article by Dan Tortora

  Local Central New York talent Malik Zachery appeared on "Wake Up Call with Dan Tortora" on Thursday, April 9, 2020, speaking on his final three schools of choice to play college basketball.

  Those schools are the University at Buffalo, Ole Miss, and the University of California, Berkeley.

  But while on the "Wake Up Call" broadcast, Zachery shared that he had spoken to his family that morning and came to the decision that he would extend his final three to a final four to include the University of Central Florida.

  The UCF Knights now have a fighting chance with Buffalo, Ole Miss, and Cal for Zachery, who makes his decision on Wednesday, April 15th.

  Zachery played for the West Genesee Wildcats in Camillus, New York, for head coach Fred Kent before going the JUCO route.

  He shared on "Wake Up Call" that his support system will move with him wherever he chooses. 

  Stay tuned to "Wake Up Call with Dan Tortora" Monday through Friday, 9-11amET for more info.

Good News Comes for the 'Cuse

Posted on April 5, 2020 at 9:30 PM Comments comments (0)

  Article by Dan Tortora

  The Syracuse Orange have had a rough go at 2020, seeing four players transfer out of the program and a fifth, forward Elijah Hughes, enter his name into this year's National Basketball Association (NBA) Draft.

  Their season, like so many other colleges and universities, was cut short due to the coronavirus.

  But there is another side to the mountain of adversity.

  There is life after strife.

  Alan Griffin looks to be a ray of sunshine in Central New York as he joins the Orange following two seasons with the Fighting Illini of the University of Illinois.

  Griffin rose from 8.1 minutes per game in the 2018-19 season to 18.1 minutes per game this past season. With the increase in time on the floor, Griffin's points per game rose from 2.8 to 8.9, his field-goal percentage from 38.5% to 48.3%, three-point percentage from 30.4% to 41.6%, rebounds per game from 1.6 to 4.5, and free-throw percentage from 61.1% to 86.1%.

  His move to Syracuse places him closer to his hometown of Ossining, New York, which is above Long Island, a little under four hours away.

  He will have two seasons of eligibility at Syracuse.

Syracuse Shines in ACC Tourney 2020 Opener

Posted on March 11, 2020 at 11:30 PM Comments comments (0)

  Article by Dan Tortora

  The Syracuse Orange and North Carolina Tar Heels squared off in the second round of the 2020 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Tournament less than two weeks since their last meeting.

  That meeting was at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York, on Saturday, February 29th, when the Tar Heels scored 50+ in the second half to defeat the Orange 92-79.

  Syracuse took control of their March 11th match-up in the first half, leading by almost as many points (21) that UNC scored in the first half (22), ahead 43-22 at the break.

  The Orange took a 7-0 lead on the Greensboro Coliseum court to began the contest and would never trail for the entire 40 minutes of play.

  Syracuse would lead by as many as 30 points, 81-51, with 2:29 to play in the game.

  They would win close to that margin, 81-53, to advance as the 6th-seed past the lowest-seeded team in the ACC Tournament, the 14th-seeded Tar Heels, for the opportunity to face off against the 3rd-seeded Louisville Cardinals in the conference tournament's quarterfinal round.

  Four of five Syracuse starters ended the match-up in double-figures, redshirt-junior forward Elijah Hughes leading the way with 27 points, playing in 38 of 40 minutes. Sophomore guard Buddy Boeheim followed with 17, then junior forward Marek Dolezaj with 13, and junior forward/center Bourama Sidibe with 12. True freshman guard Joe Girard, III, only attempted six shots in 35 minutes, concluding the night with three points as an Orange starter.

  Junior forward Garrison Brooks led all UNC players with 18 points in 37 minutes, followed by sophomore guard Leaky Black with 14, the only other Tar Heel that attained double-figures in the game.

  Both teams attempted 60 shots from the field, with Syracuse making 28 of them (47%) and UNC making 20 of theirs (33%).

  The Orange went 7-for-21 from three-point range (33%), while the Tar Heels made a mere two of their 16 attempts (13%).

  A key piece to highlight in this game were the 18 turnovers that UNC had in comparison to Syracuse's eight, and the face that Syracuse capitalized off of UNC's 18 turnovers to the tune of 27 points as opposed to UNC's four points off of Syracuse's turnovers.

  With this victory, Syracuse is now 4-0 against ACC teams the second time around after losing to them earlier on this season, defeating Virginia, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, and UNC when they saw them for a second time here in their 2019-20 campaign.

  The upcoming game will be the second for the Orange against the Cardinals, with the Orange looking to avenge a 90-66 loss that happended on the road in Kentucky back on Wednesday, Feb 19th, of this year.

Tar Heels Drop 50+ in 2nd Half to Best the Orange

Posted on February 29, 2020 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (0)

  Article by Dan Tortora

  The Syracuse Orange welcomed the North Carolina (UNC) Tar Heels into the Carrier Dome for the team's final home contest before the renovation is complete.

  As the Dome undergoes changes, so, too, has the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), with the Tar Heels coming into this match-up in last place in the conference among 15 institutions when the Tar Heels are typically somewhere in the top three of the ACC.

  Syracuse entered the game at 9-8 in the ACC, while UNC came in at 4-13. The Orange were 16-12 overall, the Tar Heels 11-17.

  The game began well-contested by both, with eight lead changes and five ties within the first eight minutes and change in the first half (20-minute mark to the 11:05 mark).

  But after being tied at 17, the Orange were on the wrong side of a 16-9 run that moved the Tar Heels out to a 33-26 advantage.

  Redshirt-junior forward Elijah Hughes would knock down two free throws to bring Syracuse within two possessions, 33-28, inside three minutes before halftime.

  Sophomore guard Buddy Boeheim would get the next four points for the Orange, from two free throws followed by a jumper, to make it 36-32 Orange with under 1:30 remaining on the first-half clock.

  Syracuse would get back within four when Boeheim's missed jumper was rebounded by junior forward/center Bourama Sidibe who put it back up and in at the rim to bring the score to 38-34 UNC.

  Sidibe would head toward the rim with 2.7 seconds remaining and get fouled, going 1-for-2 at the line to get the Orange within five at the break, down 40-35.

  At the half, Sidibe already had a double-double, with 10 points and 11 rebounds.


  UNC came out striking in the second half, going on a 24-13 run that would extend their five-point halftime lead out to a 64-48 advantage with a little over 13 minutes to play. Inside of this run, the Tar Heels made six shots from three-point range, two coming from freshman guard Cole Anthony, two from senior guard Brandon Robinson, and one from graduate guard Christian Keeling.


  The Tar Heels made two deep shots all first half, and less than seven minutes into the second half, they had six makes from long distance.


  But UNC was not done from long range, knocking down their seventh and eighth three-pointers of the second half before the eight-minute mark. At this time, Anthony had made four three-pointers in the half, and rose to 23 points overall.

  UNC would make nine of their 11 team three-pointers in the second half, ending the game 11-for-26.

  With 6:26 remaining in the second half, the Tar Heels had already tied their first-half total of 40 points, leading the Orange 80-64.

  Syracuse would give up 52 points to UNC in the second half, being out-scored 52-44, en route to a 92-79 loss in their final regular season home game for the 2019-20 campaign.

  Anthony and teammate,  junior forward Garrison Brooks, would combine to score 51 points in the game, Brooks with 26 and Anthony with 25. Keeling came off the Tar Heels' bench to score 18 points in the contest. 

  Boeheim would lead all Orange with 22, followed by Hughes with 19 and Sidibe with 17. Sidibe's double-double final would be 17 points and 15 rebounds, with 10 of those 15 boards coming on the defensive end.

  The win moves UNC to 5-13 in ACC play and 12-17 overall, while the loss places Syracuse back at .500 in the ACC at 9-9, and 16-13 overall.

Syracuse Flips the Script in the 2nd Half, Gets the W

Posted on February 22, 2020 at 6:15 PM Comments comments (0)

  Article by Dan Tortora

  The Syracuse Orange entered their 27th game of the season with a 14-12 overall record.

  They returned to the Dome after losing both of their Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) contests versus top-10 nationally-ranked teams, falling to the Florida State Seminoles 80-77 and then the Louisville Cardinals 90-66.

  The loss to the Cardinals moved the Orange under .500 in ACC play, at 7-8, providing the Orange an opportunity to get back even in the ACC when they hosted the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

  Syracuse would score first off of a layup by junior forward Bourama Sidibe 43 seconds into the game.

  Their largest lead of the first half would be by two, achieved on the aforementioned occasion as well as when they were ahead 4-2 off of a layup by freshman forward Quincy Guerrier.

  Unfortunately for the Orange, they would not lead again in the first half, losing it immediately following Guerrier's layup, when junior guard Jose Alvarado connected on the first three-pointer of the game for either team, making it 5-4 Yellow Jackets.

  Syracuse would be behind by as many as 12 points in the first half, at 34-22, with 1:50 to go before half.

  At the break, the Orange trailed the Yellow Jackets by 11, 38-27.

  Junior forward Moses Wright of Georgiat Tech led all players from both teams in the first half, with 17 points. His teammate, sophomore guard Michael Devoe, followed with 11.

  Redshirt-junior forward Elijah Hughes led Syracuse with 10.

  The Orange began the second half on a 7-0 run, condensing their 11-point deficit to just four, down 38-34 at the 17:58 mark, thanks to a three and a jumper to follow by freshman guard Joe Girard, III, and then a jumper by Hughes.

  Overall, Syracuse would start the second half on a 12-2 run that would get them to within one point, 40-39, with 15:49 to play.

  The Orange would shrink their deficit to one possession on six occasions in the first nine minutes and change of the second half before a jumper at the 9:49 mark by Hughes tied the game, at 51 apiece.

  It was Hughes who would also get the Orange ahead for the first time since the 17:21 mark of the first half, when he went 1-for-2 at the charity stripe to make it 52-51 Orange with 9:15 to play on the game clock. This ended a span of 28 minutes and seven seconds where Syracuse did not have the lead in the game.

  No matter how close Georgia Tech got from there, Syracuse always had an answer, remaining in the lead.

  Hughes, junior forward Marek Dolezaj, and sophomore guard Buddy Boeheim combined for 11 points in the first half, with four, three, and four, respectively. They each rose to the occasion in the second half: Dolezaj with 16, Girard with 11, and Boeheim with nine.

  Dolezaj scored 14 of the team's final 24 points of the game, aiding the Orange to a 79-72 comeback victory that brought a three-game losing streak to a close.

  He made all of his 12 free-throw attempts of the contest.

   Sidibe, who had fouled out with exactly two minutes remaining, ended with six points, 10 rebounds, one block, three steals, and two turnovers in 25 minutes. 

  Dolezaj and Hughes led the Orange with 20 points apiece, followed by Girard with 14 and Boeheim with 13.

  Wright had 33 of the Yellow Jackets' 72 points, with the other six players on the floor for the Yellow Jackets combining to score just six points more than Wright, with 39 in total.

  Devoe did not score a single point for Georgia Tech after amounting 11 in the first half.

  With the 79-72 win, Syracuse gets back to .500 in the ACC, at 8-8, and moves to 15-12 overall.

  Georgia Tech, who came in with the same conference record as Syracuse, dips to 7-9 in the ACC, and is now below .500 overall, at 13-14.

Syracuse Comes Up Short Without Leading Scorer Hughes

Posted on February 11, 2020 at 9:20 PM Comments comments (0)

  Article by Dan Tortora

  The Syracuse Orange and N.C. State Wolfpack met inside the Carrier Dome almost dead even in overall record as well as record inside the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), with less than 10 games to play in the regular season.

  Syracuse came onto their home court after snapping a two-game losing streak by defeating the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at home a game ago, 75-73.

  N.C. State also entered this match-up after ending a losing streak of their own, theirs a three-game skid, when they took down the Miami Hurricanes on the road, 83-72, in their last contest.

  The Orange were 14-9 overall and 7-5 in the ACC when they stepped onto the court in Central New York, the Wolfpack 15-8 and 6-6 in the conference.

  Syracuse got on the board first with a three from sophomore guard Buddy Boeheim on the team's opening possession.

  The Orange would go ahead by as many as four points, 6-2, before losing the lead at the 14:09 mark when the Wolfpack got a layup from senior guard Markell Johnson that made it 8-7 Wolfpack.

  An 8-0 run overall would get N.C. State out to a 12-7 advantage with 13:26 remaining in the first half.

  Redshirt-senior guard C.J. Bryce's deep connection would move the Wolfpack out to a nine-point lead, 20-11, at the 9:22 mark.

  Syracuse would respond by scoring on four-straight possessions to get within two of N.C. State, 23-21, with 7:41 before halftime. The field goals would come, in order, from junior forward Marek Dolezaj inside, true freshman forward Quincy Guerrier on a putback off of his offensive rebound, true freshman guard Joe Girard, III's, old-fashioned three-point play, and a tradition three-ball from Girard.

  Girard would make his third-consecutive field goal for the Orange when he knocked down the tying jumper that made it 23-all at the 6:40 mark.

  Dolezaj would steal the ball away from sophomore forward Jericole Hellems just 14 seconds later and lead a fast-break that would end with his assist to junior Bourama Sidibe who finished underneath to give Syracuse their first lead since it was 7-6, at 25-23 with 6:18 left on the first-half clock.

  Syracuse got to their 25-23 lead by going on a 14-3 run, turning the tide from down nine (20-11) to up two.

  N.C. State would get back ahead of Syracuse at the 3:59 mark when Bryce made his third deep shot of the first half, moving to a one-point lead, 29-28.

  Dolezaj went to work from there, scoring five-straight points for the Orange, making two free throws followed by attacking inside, taking the contact, and connecting on an out-stretched lay-in plus the free throw that ensued, moving the Orange from down 29-28 to up 33-29.

  Hellems replied to Dolezaj with a 5-0 run of his own, connecting on a jumper and an immediate three to follow to put N.C. State back up by one, this time 34-33.

  The Wolfpack would enter the first half on a 10-2 run to give themselves a four-point lead on the road against the Orange as both teams went to talk things over in their respective locker rooms.

  Bryce went into the break as the lone member of the Wolfpack in double-figures, with 12 points, while Girard led all Orange and all players in general with 14 first-half points.

  N.C. State would score first in the second half when redshirt-junior forward D.J. Funderburk made both of his free throws, but the first field goal of the second half would come from Guerrier in the paint after Sidibe made up for his turnover by stealing the ball back for Syracuse.

  The Orange would go on a 7-0 run to cut their deficit to four, 46-42, and Guerrier and Girard would follow with back-to-back buckets to tie the game at 46 apiece at the 16:21 mark of the second half. 

  Sidibe would come out of the game at the 16:03 mark after picking up his fourth foul, with true freshman center Jesse Edwards having to step in.

  And step in he did. Edwards took a feed from Guerrier and finished with a lay-in to give Syracuse their first lead of the second half, 58-56, with 10:37 to play in the contest. Boeheim's connection from long distance tied the game at 56 a possession before, and gave Boeheim double-digits on the night, as he reached 10 points.

  Combining with Guerrier and Girard, Boeheim was a piece of the trio that accounted for 46 of Syracuse's 60 points when they took a 60-56 advantage, with Girard amounting 20, Guerrier 16, and Boeheim with 10.

  A tough make inside for Dolezaj would move him into double-figures as well, with 11 at the 8:29 mark of the second half, rolling the Orange out to a 64-59 lead.

  However, the Wolfpack would claw their way back to the lead when redshirt-junior guard Devon Daniels made a layup at the 4:25 mark, getting N.C. State ahead 69-68. Daniels went on a 7-0 himself to bring the Wolfpack from a 68-62 deficit to this 69-68 lead.

  Markell Johnson and C.J. Bryce would provide back-to-back makes from beyond the arc for the Wolfpack, moving them out to a 77-70 advantage with 2:35 to play.

  With 1:37 remaining, Girard would go 2-for-2 at the line to give him his first 30-point game of his young collegiate career, and it would bring Syracuse within four, down 78-74.

  This 30-point performance by Girard came a mere 24 games into his true freshman season.

  This was the fourth game where Girard had at least 20 points: 20 versus the Oakland Golden Grizzlies, 20 versus the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and 24 versus the Seattle Redhawks, all at home as well.

  But it was not enough as Syracuse fell to visiting N.C. State 79-74, a five-point loss in a game where Orange leading-scorer, redshirt-junior Elijah Hughes (19.4 points per game), went out with a lower-body injury after a mere three minutes on the court in the first half.

  With the loss, Syracuse now has double-digit losses on the season at 14-10, and they move to 7-6 in the ACC.

  N.C. State moves up to 16-8 overall and above .500 in the ACC at 7-6 as well, now with a head-to-head tiebreaker over Syracuse if need be.

  Girard, as he did in the first half, led all scorers in the game as a whole, with 30. Guerrier also elevated to a new single-game career-high with 16 points for the fellow true freshman. Dolezaj ended the night with 13 and Boeheim with 10.

  Daniels led the Wolfpack with 23 points, followed by Bryce with 19 and Hellems with 10.

Freshman Goodine Wins Game for Orange to Escape Deacons

Posted on February 8, 2020 at 10:20 PM Comments comments (0)

  Article by Dan Tortora

  The Syracuse Orange entered their 15th home game of the 2019-20 campaign in fifth place in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) standings at 6-5, playing a Wake Forest Demon Deacons' team that was 14th out of 15 ACC schools in the conference standings, with a 3-9 record.

  Junior forward Marek Dolezaj got Syracuse on the board first when he was successful on his layup following his own defensive rebound.

  Wake Forest would take their first lead of the game shortly after when senior guard Brandon Childress broke a tie with his jumper at the 16:23 mark of the first half.

  The Orange would reclaim the lead when sophomore guard Buddy Boeheim connected from long distance to get the Orange ahead by a score of 5-4.

  Syracuse would make three more deep shots from 14:48 to the 12:17 mark, two more by Boeheim followed by one by redshirt-junior forward Elijah Hughes, expanding the Orange lead to 16-4.  

  From the 10:20 mark to 7:50 remaining in the first half, Wake Forest would knock down four straight shots, including two field goals from beyond the arc, moving the Demon Deacons to a single-digit deficit, down 25-16.

  Dolezaj fought hard inside with around 5:30 left in the opening half, grabbing an offensive rebound off of his own shot that eventually led to points for the Orange when Hughes fed true freshman guard Joe Girard, III, who connected on a jump shot, placing the Orange back ahead by double-digits, 30-19.

  Fellow true freshman, forward Quincy Guerrier, attacked Wake Forest inside, going for the high-percentage shots and getting contact to at least get a trip to the charity stripe. The points that followed Girard's aforementioned jumper came from Guerrier with an old-fashioned three-point play followed by going 2-for-2 at the line to bring the score to 35-25 Syracuse.

  Guerrier would, however, come out of the game with 2:33 remaining in the first half, after committing a foul of his own, his third of the game.

  The Demon Deacons would finish the half on a 5-3 run that would make it 38-30 Orange at the break.

  Syracuse would begin the second half on an 8-0 run, started by two free throws by Hughes and then Boeheim making the first field goal for either side in the second half, this coming at the 19:03 mark.

  Wake Forest responded with a 10-0 run that would cut Syracuse's lead to two possessions, 46-40, with 16:29 to play, after junior center Olivier Sarr dunked it home. Junior guard Chaundee Brown began the run with his jumper, with two three-pointers from redshirt-senior guard Andrien White coming after Brown and before Sarr's dunk.

  Hughes and Dolezaj would each go 2-for-2 from the line in response, moving the Orange back out to a double-digit lead, 50-39.

  Boeheim would answer the Demon Deacons on back-to-back possessions with jumpers to keep Syracuse up by double-figures, with a little over 14 minutes to play.

  Down by 10, Wake Forest would go on a 10-1 run, getting them within one of Syracuse, 62-61, at the 8:40 mark.

  Sidibe would commit the foul that put Sarr on the line with 8:40 remaining. That would end up being Sidibe's fifth foul of the match-up, resulting in him being done for the night just nine seconds after teammate Guerrier had fouled out with 8:49 to go.

  After missing three out of four free throws, including both front ends of 1-&-1 opportunities, the Orange found themselves up by a mere two points, 63-61.

  Dolezaj would be called for his fourth personal foul with 6:55 to play and Sarr would go 2-for-2 at the line to tie the game at 63 apiece.

  The foul by Dolezaj was a hook-and-hold, so Wake Forest was given possession to follow the free throws and Sarr would come up big once again, this time on a layup after an offensive rebound by teammate sophomore forward Isaiah Mucius. As a result, the Demon Deacons would take their first lead since 4-2, ending the run that the Orange had from the 15:27 mark of the first half.

  Dolezaj would receive a second technical for back-to-back technical fouls, fouling out with 5:42 to go in the contest. Wake Forest made the most of the technical foul situations, turning a 63-61 deficit into a 69-65 lead. 

  Hughes would make both of his free throws and true freshman center Jesse Edwards would go 1-for-2 to get Syracuse within one, 69-68, with under four minutes on the game clock.

  At the 2:26 mark, Hughes would go 1-for-2 at the charity stripe, tying the game at 69.

  White would get the lead right back, going 1-for-2 himself from the line.

  But Boeheim would connect on a layup in transition after a steal by Girard to move the Orange back ahead, 71-70.

  A bad bobble by the Demon Deacons inside led to another steal by the Orange on the very next possession, this by Boeheim off of freshman forward Ismael Massoud.

  Hughes would make both of his free throws with 32.3 seconds to play, extending Syracuse out to a 73-70 lead.

  Massoud would reply with a three immediately after, tying the game at 73, and turning the game clock off.

  Hughes would miss a three on the other end and true freshman guard Brycen Goodine would grab the offensive rebound underneath and put it back with under four seconds on the clock.

  The ball would rattle around and drop in with 1.5 seconds to go, giving Syracuse a 75-73 advantage and the eventual win.

  Boeheim, Hughes, and Guerrier all ended in double-figures for the Orange, with 23, 20, and 13, respectively.

  Sarr and Brown closed the game in double-figures for the Demon Deacons, with 15 and 14, respectively.

  With the win, Syracuse moves to 14-9 on the season and 7-5 in ACC play, while Wake Forest drops to 10-13 overall and 3-10 in the ACC.

  There are a mere three teams in the ACC with at least 10 conference wins so far this season (Louisville, Duke, and Florida State), with Syracuse and Virginia closest from there, both with seven conference victories and the same record in the ACC, at 7-5.

  Wake Forest joins the Miami Hurricanes, who have the same record of 3-10, at the bottom of the ACC.