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Oh So Close in Omaha

Posted on March 24, 2018 at 12:20 AM

  Article by Dan Tortora

  The first time the Syracuse Orange and Duke Blue Devils met this season, the game went in Duke's favor, by double-digits, with a 60-44 win for the Blue Devils at home in Cameron Indoor.

  This time around, both teams were away from home, and out to the midwest of the United States, in Omaha, Nebraska.

  Duke got things started with a layup by true freshman guard Trevon Duval, but Syracuse quickly answered with a dunk from junior center Paschal Chukwu.

  True freshman forward Marvin Bagley, III, responded right back with a dunk of his own, which was followed by a three from Orange sophomore shooting guard Tyus Battle that gave the Orange the lead at 5-4.

  Syracuse would not trail from that moment, at the 18:09 mark, until the 9:49 mark of the first half, when sophomore center Marques Bolden laid it in to place the Blue Devils ahead by one, 18-17.

  There would be six lead changes and three ties from there.

  A three by senior guard Grayson Allen with under a minute before the half placed the Blue Devils up seven, 34-27.

  The Orange got back to block a fast break and redshirt-freshman forward Matthew Moyer saved the ball, but Moyer would throw it away and Syracuse would head into the half down by seven, with Duke scoring the final 10 points of the opening half.

  Syracuse wasted no time in the second half, scoring on their first two possessions, bringing the game to within three, down 34-31. Before this, the Orange had no attained any points since the 5:20 mark of the first half, and no field goals since the 5:33 mark of the opening half when true freshman center Bourama Sidibe tipped the ball in.

  The Orange would score the first six points of the second half when Chukwu followed the two aforementioned field goals with a make at the rim that got Syracuse within one, down 34-33 at the 17:55 mark.

  True freshman guard Gary Trent, Jr., attained the first field goal for the Blue Devils in the second half on a jumper at the 17:30 mark.

  True freshman forward Marek Dolezaj responded with a baseline jumper after a Duke turnover, and just like that, the Orange were within one yet again, this time at 36-35.

  Battle would give Syracuse another opportunity to tie the game with an spin and acrobatic move toward the basket, making the one-handed jumper, but he would miss the subsequent free throw.

  Syracuse got more help from Battle in a 3-on-2 fast break, where he sent the bounce pass to Dolezaj who finished with a dunk to get the Orange within one possession, at 42-39.

  However, after beginning the second half 0-for-6 from beyond the arc, Trent knocked down Duke's first three of the half to give the Blue Devils a 45-39 advantage.

  Duke got out to as much as a nine-point lead in the second half

  True freshman forward Oshae Brissett got the Orange back within two possessions, making both of his freebies, to get the score to 50-45.

  Dolezaj would elevate for a one-handed turnaround jumper to bring the Syracuse deficit to three, 50-47, but true freshman forward Wendell Carter, Jr., would go up against multiple Syracuse defenders and finish at the rim to extend Duke back out to a two-possession advantage.

  With 8:16 to play, the Blue Devils committed their seventh foul, that coming from Carter, meaning the Orange would be at the line after every foul from there on out. Brissett went 1-for-2 on the free throw that followed Carter's foul, and then attacked the rim for two to get the Orange within four, 54-50.

  Down by five, Syracuse would turn the ball over on back-to-back possessions, which led to consecutive field goals for Duke, and all of a sudden, Duke was back up by nine, this time at 62-53, with just over four minutes to play.

  Battle rose up and launched a three with 2:20 left and it dropped into the nylon to bring the Orange to a five-point deficit at 63-58.

  Brissett made a tough leaner to bring Syracuse within three and Trent responded down the lane, making it 65-60 Duke with 51.7 seconds to go.

  Carter, who committed the foul that put the Orange in the bonus, also was responsible for the foul that placed them in the double-bonus. Junior point guard Frank Howard made both free throws with a little over 40 seconds to go, and it was 65-62 Blue Devils.

  With 21.8 seconds left on the clock, Syracuse was forced to foul and Allen made both. Battle's three would be off the mark to follow, but Dolezaj would knock the ball in at the rim and it was back to a three-point lead for Duke, 67-64.

  Allen would be fouled again and miss the front end of his 1-and-1.

  With seven seconds left, Battle was fouled before he could attempt a three. He went 1-for-2 at the line, and it was 67-65 Blue Devils.

  Trent was fouled with 6.3 seconds to play. He went 2-for-2 at the line and that would do it as Battle's shot fell off the mark to end the game at 69-65 in favor of Duke.

  The Blue Devils move onto the Elite Eight and the Orange will return home after an exhilirating, entertaining, and hard-fought finish to their season, ending with a 23-14 record.

Categories: Syracuse Orange Men's Basketball, Atlantic Coast Conference, NCAA

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