Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Syracuse 69, Va. Tech 58
By Kieran Darcy
NEW YORK -- A quick take on No. 5 Syracuse's 69-58 win over Virginia Tech on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.
What it means: Syracuse improves to 5-0 on the season, and advances to the NIT Season Tip-Off championship game. Coach Jim Boeheim said before this game that his team hadn't been challenged yet this season -- well, they were challenged tonight, and they passed the test.
Seth Greenberg's Virginia Tech squad drops its first game of the season -- the Hokies, picked to finish sixth in the ACC this season, are now 3-1.
The skinny: Virginia Tech got out of the gate fast -- in fact, the Hokies led for the entire first half. Their largest lead was seven, but Syracuse cut the halftime deficit to two, 29-27, on a C.J. Fair bucket right before intermission. Jarell Eddie, who was scoreless in Virginia Tech's last game, had nine first-half points to lead the Hokies. Kris Joseph kept Syracuse in the game with 12 first-half points and six rebounds.
Syracuse finally took its first lead of the game on a Fair dunk with 12:11 remaining in the game. That was part of an 11-0 run that gave the Orange control of the game, from being down 42-39 to up 50-42. Dion Waiters scored nine straight points in one second-half stretch for Syracuse. Virginia Tech never got closer than five points down the stretch.
Multiple weapons: This Syracuse team is extremely deep -- so many different people can hurt you offensively. Tonight Joseph was the main man with 20 points, but Brandon Triche (18), Fair (12) and Waiters (11) were all in double figures -- the last two coming off the bench. Scoop Jardine had just two points on the night, but the Orange were just fine.
Joseph and Fair also had 10 rebounds apiece. Fab Melo had five blocked shots.
Virginia Tech had a balanced attack as well, with three players in double figures, led by Ellie with 17 points.
Stat crunch: Syracuse got 11 more shots from the field in this game. The Orange had just nine turnovers, while the Hokes had 16. And Syracuse won the rebounding battle 32-27 -- including 12 to 8 on the offensive glass.
What's next: Syracuse will play Stanford in the championship game on Friday at 5 p.m. Virginia Tech will play Oklahoma State in the consolation game, starting at 2:30 p.m.