|Posted on December 18, 2018 at 10:10 PM|
Article by Dan Tortora
The Syracuse Orange played host to the Buffalo Bulls a week before Christmas on December 18th inside the Dome.
With fanbases close to one another with I-90 connecting them, the Dome had cheers and boos that would confuse the common game-goer, with Buffalo hopeful traveling well for this thruway rivalry.
The Bulls came in better than the Orange overall this time around, with the Bulls at 10-0 and the Orange entering at 7-3, the Orange coming off of their first loss at home, where they fell to the visiting Old Dominion Monarchs a game ago.
Buffalo entered ranked 14th in the Associated Press (AP) poll and 15th in the Coaches' poll, while Syracuse was left off of both.
In the first half, Syracuse never trailed once in 20 minutes of play.
The Orange led the Bulls in the paint, 18 points to 10, but the Bulls led the charge in fast-break points, 11 to two, and points from their bench, 11 to five.
Syracuse out-shot Buffalo in the first half 57.1% to 35.5%, doing more from the inside as aforementioned, with both teams combining to go 6-for-24 in from three-point range in the opening half.
Senior point guard Frank Howard was the lone Orange member in double-figures at the end of the first half, with 10 points on 4-for-7 shooting, including 2-for-3 from long range.
Bulls' senior guard Jeremy Harris was atop all scorers on both teams with 11 points in the first half, going 4-for-9 from the field, 3-for-3 inside the arc to 1-for-6 from the outside.
Syracuse's largest lead came with 9:29 before the break, ahead by nine, off of a dunk by junior shooting guard Tyus Battle that would place them ahead by the score of 20-11.
At the half, the Orange were ahead by four in a closely-contested match-up, 36-32.
Back-to-back threes from Howard and redshirt-junior guard/forward Elijah Hughes would get the Orange two possessions of separation, 44-39, inside 15 minutes to play in the game.
Another shot from beyond the arc by Hughes elevated the Orange back to a two-possession lead, 48-42.
With 9:40 to play, the Bulls would take their first lead of the entire game, up 50-48, off of a three-pointer by Harris, on an 8-0 run.
True freshman point guard Jalen Carey would respond at the rim to tie the game at 50 apiece, but senior guard C.J. Massinburg would knock down a three immediately, moving Buffalo back ahead, now 53-50.
After a turnover by Carey, Battle would connect on his own deep shot to tie the match-up once again, at 53-53.
Off of a missed three by Harris, junior guard Davonta Jordan would gain the offensive rebound among two Orange players and put it up at the rim, giving the Bulls a 55-53 advantage.
Massinburg would attack the paint from there, putting his body into Hughes and connecting off the glass plus the following free throw to extend Buffalo to a 58-53 lead.
Sophomore forward Oshae Brissett's jumper with 6:15 to go would shorten the Bulls' lead to one possession, 58-55.
Senior guard Dontay Caruthers fouled out with 4:25 to play, placing Battle on the line, where Battle would go 2-for-2 to make it a two-point deficit for the Orange, 59-57.
After sohomore forward Marek Dolezaj missed the front end of his one-and-one opportunity, Jordan came back and nailed a deep shot to extend the Bulls' advantage out to 62-57.
The Orange allowed an offensive rebound to the Bulls, with senior forward Nick Perkins pulling it down in the paint, leading to a layup by Massinburg to move the Bulls out to a 64-57 advantage with 2:34 to go.
Brissett would miss two free throws, putting Syracuse at 5-for-13 from the charity stripe with 2:23 left on the game clock, the Orange missing eight free throws and being down by seven.
Massinburg would come right down the court and cash in from beyond the arc to give the Bulls a double-digit lead for the first time in the game, ahead 67-57. Of his 25 total points, Massinburg scored 19 of his total in the second half.
With under two minutes to go, Buffalo had out-rebounded Syracuse 44 to 33 overall, with twice as many offensive rebounds as the Orange, 18 to nine.
Massinburg led all Buffalo players and everyone from both teams with 25 points. Harris followed with 18 and Jordan and Perkins each had 10.
Four Syracuse players closed the game in double-figures: Hughes with 16, Howard with 13, Battle with 11, and Brissett with 10. After scoring 10 in the first half, Howard would amount a mere three in the second.
After going 4-for-4 from the free-throw line to end the contest, the Bulls would run the clock out on the Orange, sending the Orange their second-straight loss at home. Syracuse was 6-0 in the Dome before this two-game losing streak to Old Dominion and now Buffalo.
The Bulls remain undefeated at 11-0, while the Orange fall to 7-4.