New York State In-depth

Georgia Tech edge Syracuse 69-57 behind the run in late 4th quarter

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The fourth quarter hasn’t been Syracuse’s strong point lately. It broke in the fourth quarter against then-No. 7 Notre Dame and blew a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter over then-No. 6 NC State. And again things didn’t go as planned against Georgia Tech.

Syracuse (13-6, 4-4 Atlantic Coast) had stayed close to Georgia Tech in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter – at one point trailing 54-53 – but buckets from Bianca Jackson, Avyonce Carter and Tonie Morgan in one 15-3 Georgia Tech overtook the Yellow Jackets (10-9, 1-7 ACC) in the closing minutes of the game to take their first conference win of the season, 69-57.

In the opening minutes, none other than Kyra Wood could score as she scored the first six points for the Orange. Georgia Woolley traveled at the top of the key, Teisha Hyman missed a floater and bricked a 3 and Dariauna Lewis’ jumper went in and out. But at the bottom, Wood scored her first three buckets from inside the paint.

On one play, Hyman pushed down the lane and attracted two defenders. It left Wood wide open in the suit for the easy two. On the transition, Woolley received the ball down the left wing before firing a pass at Wood for another layup. Eventually, Dyaisha Fair and fHyman hit the baseline jumpers to force GT head coach Nell Fortner to call a time-out as the Orange led 10-6.

The Yellow Jackets ended the first period on a 7-1 run and tied the score at 13 in the second period. Her spark came from Boston College traded Cameron Swartz, who came off the bench and scored seven points in the first quarter before adding three points in the second quarter. Lewis grabbed six rebounds in the first quarter alone and would finish with 14. For Syracuse, zero players scored from the bench in the first half. By the end of the game, GT surpassed the Orange 39-5 in bank points.

Both teams traded buckets early in the second quarter. Fair dropped a 3 from the left wing while GT’s Carter responded with another from the right wing. Hyman went coast to coast and scored a contested floater from the glass. But play was briefly halted when Fair ran into Kayla Blackshear’s shoulder. It was random contact, but Fair was temporarily removed from the game.

Since Fair was marginalized, Hyman, Rice, and Woolley were Syracuse’s three guards. At the top of the key, Rice found Lewis deep down. Lewis used her size to carve the basket in color. On the next play, Hyman drove down the left side of the lane and scored the layup with the foul. It gave Syracuse a 28-22 lead, the game’s biggest lead at the time.

Fair returned to the game, hitting a pull-up jumper from the elbow and ending the first half with 11 points. The Yellow Vests would take the last five points of the half to reclaim the lead. Swartz, Georgia Tech’s best 3-point shooter, converted from Deep to reduce the deficit to one. Then, after Jackson missed from beyond the arc in the corner, Blackshear grabbed the offensive board and forced a shooting foul with 2.5 seconds left. She did both as Georgia Tech led 31-30 at halftime. It was the first GT lead since the 4-2 lead at the start of the first quarter.

Rice scored the first bench points for Syracuse with seven minutes remaining in the third quarter. Fair pulled onto the lane before joining Rice in the corner. Rice, with space, dumped the 3 in front of the SU sideline.

Inside passes remained a strength for Syracuse throughout the evening. In the third quarter, Fair drove into the lane before throwing down Lewis with a one-handed pass. Lewis missed the layup but drew the foul. Then, in an earlier game in the same period, Rice had the ball down the right wing. She passed it cross-court down-low to Lewis, whose layup rolled onto the rim and out, but a foul was called.

Both sides had minimal separation midway through the third quarter, with Syracuse leading 40-36. Fair found Hyman for a fast-break bucket while Blackshear made a sweater for the Yellow Jackets. After the media break in the first third quarter, GT put on a quick 6-0 run. Swartz made a turnaround jump while Morgan added two layups to give GT a 42-40 lead. By the end of the third period, the Oranges were trailing 48-47 after Fair made a pair from the free-throw line. In the first three periods, Georgia Tech used runs of 7-1, 9-2 and 14-7 to finish each quarter.

After being fouled from the 3-point line, Swartz made three free throws to put the Yellow Jackets 54-51 ahead. Then, after a chaotic tussle on SU’s offensive end, Fair found Lewis for a baseline jump to put him within a point, but Swartz countered with a layup. The Orange trailed 56-53 at the U5 media timeout.

Jackson and Carter added two more buckets while Hyman made a second chance turnaround bucket. But Syracuse struggled to score in the final minutes of the game and choked up again for the rest of the game, losing to a GT team that was winless in its first seven conference games.

Contact Cole: [email protected] | @ColeBambini

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