Wednesday saw the #8 seed Syracuse Orange face off against the #9 seed Miami Hurricanes in the second round of the ACC Tournament at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York.
The Hurricanes pretty much dominated this game from the very beginning. Syracuse began the game with a 4-0 run, which Miami promptly caught up to and surpassed. From then on, the Hurricanes held the lead for almost the rest of the game. Syracuse’s John Gillon had another chance to be the hero with a potential game tying three with 3 seconds left but he was unable to convert and Miami eventually came out on top 62-57.
Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga said before he game that his team needed to take at least 20 three point shots and hit at least 8 of them in order to beat the Orange. Well, that is exactly what they did. As a team, the Hurricanes went 9-23 (39.1%) from behind the arc for the game. This effort was led by senior Davon Reed and Dejan Vasiljevic, who both went 3-7 from three. Vasiljevic proved to be a force off the bench, knocking down heavily contested shots on his way to 13 points. Brooklyn native Kamari Murphy also had an excellent game for Miami. The senior forward was huge down low for the Hurricanes, scoring 16 points and collecting 10 rebounds. He was also instrumental in shutting down Syracuse’s Tyler Lydon, who was held to just 5 points on 2-7 shooting.
The shining star of this game for the Orange was Andrew White. Coming off a monster 40-point performance against Georgia Tech in the regular season finale, White stayed hot against the Hurricanes. In the first half, he was responsible for 13 of the Orange’s 28 first half points and finished with a team leading 22 points. Freshman Tyus Battle also continued to impress for Syracuse. He finished the game with 14 shooting 4-9 from the field, including 3-6 from behind the arc.
What the Orange lacked in this game was leadership from John Gillon. As I, and many others that follow Syracuse basketball, have said in the past, this team struggles to win games when Gillon doesn’t perform. For the Orange to succeed, Gillon needs to take shots and until the last few minutes of the game, he didn’t take very many. He scored 5 of his 8 total points in the last 5 minutes of the game. If Syracuse wants to succeed in the NCAA Tournament (if they make it, who knows at this point) the senior guard needs to lead this team.