|Posted on February 9, 2021 at 8:50 PM|
Article by Dan Tortora
The Syracuse Orange, with a record of 10-6, came into the PNC Arena after having lost by 17, 78-61, to the Clemson Tigers, which dropped them below the .500-mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), at 4-5.
N.C. State entered their home arena having lost three of their last five games, but were coming off of a victory over the Boston College Eagles, 81-65, on the road.
The Wolfpack's overall record was just above the equator at 8-7, and they were two games under .500 in the ACC, at 4-6.
Senior forward/center Marek Dolezaj got the Orange on the board first off of a 2-for-2 trip at the line.
There were six lead changes and five ties in the opening half between these two programs who played in a close one just nine days before, that time in the Dome in Syracuse, New York, where Syracuse was able to squeak by N.C. State, 76-73.
Syracuse entered the break of this match-up with a slight lead, 34-33, on the road.
Their first field goal of the second half would come off of a three by Boeheim at the 18:18 mark, created by an offensive rebound by Dolezaj.
N.C. State would be the first to score in the second half, when senior guard Braxton Beverly went 1-for-2 at the line prior to Boeheim's shot, tying the game at 34 apiece.
Boeheim would commit his third foul of the contest when Beverly was shooting from beyond the arc. Beverly would go 3-for-3 at the line to get the Wolfpack within three, 40-37, at the 16:20 mark.
Sophomore forward Quincy Guerrier would make three shots by the basket within a two-minute period, from the 12:54 mark to 10:54 to go, to keep the Orange ahead by eight, 59-51.
But Guerrier would commit his fourth foul shortly after, at the 10:04 mark, and would come out of the contest.
Junior forward Alan Griffin would, however, knock down his fourth three-pointer of the game, making him 4-for-7 at the time, which would roll the Orange out to a double-digit lead, ahead 10, 65-55, with 8:17 to play. Griffin's fourth deep shot got Syracuse to 9-for-18 from beyond the arc (50%).
The Wolfpack would go on a 7-0 run to get within one possession of the Orange, 65-62, with 6:13 remaining.
Four of the next five field goals would come from Syracuse to follow, getting Syracuse out to a nine-point advantage with 3:10 to go, 73-64, with half of those field goals coming from Guerrier, playing with his aforementioned four fouls.
Syracuse had the ball for almost a minute, from the 2:45 mark to 1:49 remaining, thanks to two offensive rebounds. That crucial bite into the game clock ended with true freshman guard Kadary Richmond at the line, who went 2-for-2 to add even more positive to the Orange late, as they extended out to their largest lead of the contest from these free throws, ahead by 11, 75-64, with 1:49 to go.
Neither team would record a field goal for the 3:09 of the game, with the Orange rolling to victory over the Wolfpack once again this season, this time 77-68. Syracuse never trailed in the second half.
The win puts Syracuse back at .500 in the ACC, and 11-6 overall.
N.C. State's loss moves them to 4-7 in the ACC, and places them even at 8-8 overall for the season thus far.
Syracuse out-rebounded N.C. State by 10 boards in the second half.
Orange head coach Jim Boeheim called this game Syracuse's best win of the season.
Griffin led all players on either side with 22 points, followed by Orange teammates Boeheim and Guerrier, who had 16 and 14, respectively,
Redshirt-junior guard Thomas Allen led the Wolfpack with 17 points, with redshirt-senior D.J. Funderburk following him with 14 and junior forward Jericole Hellems with 11.
Syracuse senior center Bourama Sidibe, who returned a game ago against Clemson after being out since the season-/home-opener versus the Bryant Bulldogs, did not play in this match-up. "His knee is swollen," said Boeheim. "He could not practice. He could not play."
Boeheim also shared after the game that Richmond could not practice the day before this game due to a "severely impacted tooth". Richmond finished with eight points, three assists, one rebound, three steals, and four turnovers playing in more than half of the game (25 minutes).