|Posted on March 3, 2018 at 4:20 PM|
Article by Dan Tortora
The Syracuse Orange, having lost three in a row coming into this match-up, began their contest with the visiting Clemson Tigers by giving up the ball on their opening possession as junior point guard Frank Howard lost the rock to senior guard Gabe DeVoe who had an easy stroll down the yellow brick road to the bucket for two.
Orange head coach Jim Boeheim would respond by taking an immediate timeout after a mere 27 seconds had come off of the game clock.
Following the talking to by Boeheim, Syracuse got out and to the basket themselves, when true freshman forward Oshae Brissett went inside and off the backboard to tie the game at 2-2.
The Orange would tie the game game again at 5-5 when Howard answered a three made by redshirt-junior guard Marcquise Reed.
From there, Syracuse would go on a 9-2 run out to a 14-7 advantage on Clemson.
Then, Clemson went on a field goal drought from the 14:56 mark, while Syracuse had one of their own from the 11:39 mark of the first half.
The Tigers brought their field goal drought to an end at the 4:55 mark after a span of 10 minutes without a field goal, when freshman forward Aamir Simms connected on a jumper to tie the game at 16 apiece.
Syracuse would end their own field goal drought when sophomore shooting guard Tyus Battle found the inside of the nylon from beyond the arc at the 3:59 mark, halting their drought at seven minutes and 40 seconds.
Clemson would gain their first lead of the game since 5-2 when junior forward Elijah Thomas would spin off of Syracuse junior center Paschal Chukwu and go up for two at the rim, making it 20-19 Tigers.
True freshman forward Marek Dolezaj would take the lead back for the Orange with a strong move down the lane, elevating up while being fouled and coming down with the old-fashioned three-point play, giving the Orange a 22-20 advantage.
Simms would bring about the fourth tie of the game, with a jumper that made it 22-22.
His layup with five seconds remaining before the end of the half gave Clemson a 25-22 lead at the break, following his teammate Thomas going 1-for-2 at the line.
Coming out of the locker room, Syracuse went on a 14-5 run to give them a 36-30 advantage with 13:52 to play. The Orange tied the game at 30-30 when Battle had that look like "Let the clock run down, I got this", releasing the ball before the shot clock ran out and then Brissett gained the team's fourth lead of the contest when he went strong to the basket as "Three-Point-Play Oshae" tends to do, getting the bucket and making the free throw that gave the Orange a 33-30 lead. A three by Howard would get Syracuse to the two-possession advantage, at 36-30.
The Orange appeared to be on a roll, but with 9:13 to go, the game was tied again, at 43-43, with Reed and Thomas accounting for a 7-0 run by the Tigers.
Chukwu then swatted the ball not once, but once on the same trip down the court to give him four blocks in total for the game.
But Syracuse struggled to block Clemson from coming back, with the Tigers taking the lead, 48-47, on a three by Reed with 5:23 to go.
Battle would respond by going 2-for-2 from the charity stripe to raise the Orange to a 49-48 lead, and Thomas would go inside for two himself to give the advantage back to the Tigers at 50-49.
With approximately three minutes to play, the game was at its ninth tie, courtesy of Brissett going 1-for-2 at the line to make it 50-50.
Then Brissett and Chukwu went to the line and came away with four makes in four attempts, giving the Orange separation at 54-50.
But a quick bucket by the Tigers would move the game to one-possession, 54-52, advantage Orange.
Fittingly, with 2.2 seconds to go, #21 stepped up to the basket. On the day that Lawrence Moten's #21 jersey was retired, the current #21 Dolezaj scored the final point of the game.
Clemson's last-moment heave rolled off the rim and Syracuse gained another quality win to build their case for a hopeful place in the NCAA Tournament, taking down a Clemson team that came into the game third in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) standings.
With the victory, the Orange end their three-game losing streak and will finish the regular season at 19-12 overall and 8-10 in conference play.
Syracuse and Clemson combined for nine ties and 11 lead changes.
Battle and Brissett led the Orange with 17 points apiece, while Reed and Thomas were the top two leading scorers for the Tigers, with 21 and 18 points, respectively.
Next up for the Orange is the ACC Tournament in Brooklyn, New York, at the Barclays Center, with more work yet to be done.