January 11, 2023; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange guard Joe Girard III speaks to the media following Syracuse’s victory over the Virginia Tech Hokies at the JMA Wireless Dome. Mandatory Credit: Brett Gustin/The Juice Online.
The Syracuse offensive ran on all cylinders for most of Wednesday night, giving them an 82-72 home win over Virginia Tech. The Orange (11-6, 4-2 ACC) came off the break and added strong defense to that offense, leading the Hokies (11-6, 1-5) in the first seven-and-one to just two field goals held. half a minute of the second half. That effort on both sides put SU to a 63-41 lead and allowed them to head home from there.
While they gave up just four points in that second-half turnaround, Syracuse also lost 20 points to Virginia Tech. Joe Girard III had eight of his 15 second-half points in that run, for a team-high 24 points.
Girard got plenty of support as four other Orange players surpassed double digits, led by Jesse Edwards’ 13 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Judah Mintz added a dozen points while Maliq Brown came off the bench to hit his first career double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds, five of which came on offense. Justin Taylor added ten points to the SU effort.
Grant Basile led four hokies in double digits by making 12 of 17 shots from the field as part of a game-high burst with 26 points and ten rebounds. Justyn Mutts, who had a triple-double when the teams met last season, nearly had a double-double with 21 points and nine assists. Lynn Kidd and Sean Pedulla each contributed ten points, but Pedulla, the VT top scorer, struggled to find the bottom of the net and finished the game with 3-of-15 from field and 2-of-11 from beyond the arc .
Virginia Tech had the better pick early on, taking a five-point lead twice in the first seven minutes of the game. Syracuse hit back with an 11-2 series and took the lead for the first time. Edwards was heavily involved in the run, setting up Brown for a three-pointer play, then knocking down an alley-oop from Girard and adding his own three-pointer play. Taylor capped the burst with a triple and the Orange held an 18-14 advantage.
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It took the Hokies less than three minutes to regain the lead, but seven straight marks from Taylor and Girard gave SU a lead they wouldn’t give up at 29-24. Syracuse’s lead hung between three and eight points for the rest of the half before leveling off at 43-37 for the break.
The Orange defense turned things up after the break, holding Virginia Tech by a 63-41 stranglehold with five turnovers on a 2-of-8 shoot-out as they hit that 20-4 run early in the second half to gain. SU calmed down and the visitors pushed ahead, chasing down ten points in a row to reach a tie within 65-53 with just over eight minutes of play.
The hosts shook off the doldrums and threw together enough offense in the closing minutes to never face serious threats the rest of the way, as the Hokies never got into the single digits before the final horn.
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