SYRACUSE, N.Y. (BVM) – Syracuse got off to a slow shooting start against Georgia Tech from the opening. The Orange missed six shots in a row to open the game. Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets were able to get into the teeth of Syracuse’s trademark zone and attack the Orange around the basket. Georgia Tech’s aggressiveness would lead to easy baskets as they raced out to a 12-3 lead in the opening five minutes of the game.
Syracuse’s Jimmy Boehiem brought the Orange back into the game as he scored a layup to put Syracuse back on the board. He would finish the half with 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting.
“I got put in a couple good situations,” Boeheim said. “I had a couple matchups that I liked, I guess. I tried to get downhill and they didn’t really come off too much. So, I kind of just got to the stuff I like to do and it was working, thankfully.”
Things settled down for Syracuse in large part because point guard Joe Girard III, who was able to keep possession of the basketball and run the offense smoothly for the Orange after their initial shooting slump.
Bourama Sidibe featured for nine minutes in the first half after playing 18 minutes on Saturday against Boston College. The Orange felt his defensive impact immediately. Once he was put in, he helped limit the strong entry passes that had allowed Georgia Tech easy access to the paint at the beginning of the half.
The second half saw Syracuse’s shooting woes continue as they only managed 29% of its field goals in the period. They were able to cobble together enough points from forward Cole Swider, some Boeheim free throws, and the rest of the team to keep the score close through regulation.
“It’s seldom Buddy and Jimmy both have bad shooting nights,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. “They both did, Joe did, Cole was a superstar compared to them. And yet we were able to get a stop at the end.”
It was the Orange’s defense that would ultimately close out the game for them. They scored their final point of the game with 1:56 left in overtime and were able to make multiple stops down the stretch to keep the lead.
“When we shoot it that bad and to pull this game out I couldn’t be more proud of these guys,” Jim said.
Georgia Tech made a 3-pointer to bring the score to within one with 1:36 left in overtime, but the Yellow Jackets couldn’t break down the Syracuse defense for one final basket to put themselves over the top. Georgia Tech would go on to miss three consecutive shots in the final 40-seconds of the game.
“[I’m] just trying to be as locked in as possible,” Jimmy said about the final possession of the game. “There’s a lot of emotion obviously and you’re just trying to do everything you can to get that final stop. It felt like it lasted for an hour but we got it. We got a few big ones down the stretch which I think really was the key to the game.”
The Orange played poorly on the offensive end of the floor but showed enough grit to be able to secure a win when it mattered most. It’ll be up to them to decide if the glass is half full or half empty at this critical stage in the season.