|Posted on March 3, 2021 at 7:00 PM|
Article by Dan Tortora
Schedule changes have run rampant this season due to COVID-19 protocol, dealing with positive tests and contact-tracing.
Teams all over the country have had to deal with the start-and-stop world.
The hurry-up-and-wait situations.
Syracuse Orange men's basketball has been no different, with sophomore guard Joe Girard, III, junior guard Buddy Boeheim, and true freshman center Frank Anselem all being out as a result of COVID-19.
The schedule changes, thus, created this extended regular-season situation for the Orange, with the Tigers of Clemson coming to town two days after the regular season was supposed to wrap up for the Orange.
Clemson, a 9-5 team in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and 15-5 overall, defeated Syracuse earlier this season at home in South Carolina by a score of 78-61 almost exactly a month ago, on February 6th.
The Tigers recorded the first points of the game wtih a layup by junior forward Hunter Tyson.
Syracuse's first nine attempts were all from beyond the arc, starting the game 3-for-9.
Clemson began the contest 1-for-10 from the field, including 0-for-5 from long range.
With a few seconds over eight minutes played, the Orange were ahead 11-4, with Boeheim, redshirt-sophomore forward Robert Braswell, and junior forward Alan Griffin all connecting from distance.
Sophomore center Jesse Edwards, who finished in the win over the North Carolina Tar Heels just shy of a double-double with six points and eight rebounds, checked into this game for the first time at the 9:33 mark of the first half.
The Tigers would eventually wake up a little, going on an 8-4 run to bring them within one possession of the Orange, down 13-10.
With a little over 13 minutes played in the first half, neither team had much to write home about on offense, Clemson going 4-for-21 and Syracuse 4-for-16.
A jumper by Girard at the 5:22 mark broke a more than four-minute scoring drought for the Syracuse offense, going back to a layup by sophomore forward Quincy Guerrier at 9:30 on the clock.
Three offensive rebounds in a row by the Orange would eventually lead to points when Girard connected from beyond the arc to give the Orange a 23-17 lead at the 1:55 mark of the opening half. Of the four attempts taken on this trip, three were three-point tries, two from Girard and one from Boeheim.
Despite beginning the game poor from beyond the arc, Clemson was able to claw back, with their last field goal of the first half being a three-pointer, getting them to within one possession of Syracuse at the half, down 25-22.
The Tigers would have just one less three-ball than the Orange at the end of the opening half, going 4-for-16 to Syracuse's 5-for-18.
Clemson would record only four made field goals in the final 10:41 of the first half, but they were all from three-point range, and were enough to almost catch up to 'Cuse.
Boeheim was atop all Orange after 20 minutes, with eight points, followed by Girard and Braswell, each with five.
Sophomore guard Alex Hemenway led all Tigers at the break with eight points, followed by fellow sophomore guard Al-Amir Dawes with five points.
Syracuse opened the second half with four attempts from beyond the arc, with Griffin making both of his attempts to give the Orange a 2-for-4 start to the second half from beyond the arc.
The Orange would make three consecutive field goals, the first and second being the aforementioned deep balls from Griffin and the third a layup in transition by Girard, extending Syracuse out to an 11-point advantage on an 11-0 run to begin the latter half of the game.
Griffin, who was 0-for-6 from beyond the arc a game ago versus the Tar Heels, would go 3-for-3 from long range to begin the second half, making him 4-for-7 at that time.
As a unified squad, Syracuse began the second half on a 15-2 run, rolling them out to a 40-24 advantage with 16:18 to play. Griffin got involved in the assist game as well when Boeheim passed him the ball in transition and he quick tipped it back to Boeheim who finished at the rim.
The Orange would go 10-for-12 from the field coming out of the halftime break, giving them a 17-point lead overall, at 50-33. Griffin's fifth three-pointer of the contest would get Syracuse to the 50-point mark, making him 4-for-4 from distance in the second half.
With a layup at the 9:33 mark, Griffin was 6-for-6 in the second half, including 4-for-4 from long range, giving Syracuse a 55-42 advantage.
Griffin would attempt his 10th three-ball of the contest at the 3:35 mark, and it would take the healthy bounce in after he launched from a tough corner angle with a man on. This long-distance connection made him 6-for-10 on the night on his three-point tries, and brought his point total to 22. He would finish with 22 on 6-for-12 shooting from beyond the arc, and going 8-for-14 from the field in total. Griffin would add 10 rebounds to his 22 points to end the game with a double-double.
Boeheim would follow with 17 points, going 6-for-15 from the field, including 2-for-10 from three-point range.
Guerrier finished close to a double-double with eight points and nine rebounds.
Hemenway and Dawes led the way for Clemson overall for the game, as they did in the first half, each ending with 11 points.
This 64-54 victory gives Syracuse the same amount of conference wins (9) and overall wins (15) as Clemson, and evens the home-and-home series between the two squads this season, giving Syracuse the more recent victory, which can be a helper during selection time for the NCAA Tournament.
The Orange improved to 9-7 in the ACC and 15-8 overall, while the Tigers moved to 9-6 in conference play, and 15-6 overall.