CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – Buddy Boeheim and Syracuse had had enough of close losses.
After losing to Notre Dame and Virginia Tech by a combined five points in their previous two games, the Orange entered overtime with a vengeance on Saturday and beat No. 18 Virginia 63-55.
“Losing the last two games, we didn't want to feel that same feeling,” Boeheim said after he scored nine of his 14 points in the extra period. “We knew it came down to the last five, six minutes just like the other games.”
Syracuse hit its first four shots in the extra period, the first three from 3-point territory, and scored 20 points in the period after managing just 19 in the second half. Boeheim hit the third of those three consecutive 3s for the Orange (9-7, 2-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) and added another when he made a desperate heave from well behind the 3-point line to beat the shot clock late in the extra period, boosting the Orange lead to 57-49 with 1:18 remaining.
It was a much different ending for the son of Orange coach Jim Boeheim, who told his son to just keep shooting after he missed 10 of his first 11 shots.
“He's one of the best shooters in the country,” the elder Boeheim said.
Elijah Hughes, who scored 18 points, hit the first 3 of the overtime for the Orange and freshman Joe Girard, who scored 19, hit the second.
The shots were similar to ones they'd missed in regulation, coach Boeheim said, with the only difference being that in the overtime, they went in.
“For us to win we have to make those shots,” the coach said. "We got one lucky one, but that's OK.”
Jay Huff had 16 points and 10 rebounds for Virginia (11-4, 3-2), which lost back-to-back games for the first time since the 2016-17 season. Mamadi Diakite and Kihei Clark each added 13 points for the Cavaliers.
“We couldn't come up with key stops, whether they made some tough shots or we made some breakdowns. It was a little bit of both,” Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett said.
The Cavaliers had a scoreless stretch of seven minutes in the second half and trailed by only 36-35 before Braxton Key put Virginia in front. Neither team scored in the final 1:20 of regulation, sending it to the extra period tied at 43, but the Orange hit their first four shots of overtime to take command.
“It was just a tremendous, gritty effort,” coach Boeheim said.
“The ACC, at least with a lot of the teams, it's just whoever is ready to play and plays the best with most of the games,” Bennett said. “It looks like there's some teams at the top that have a little bit of luxury to not be on their game and still be successful, but a lot of teams have to fight to play well to get victories.”
Syracuse: The Orange scored just 34 points in their first game against the Cavaliers, which was the season-opener for both teams. Syracuse started Saturday averaging 73.7 points and hasn't scored fewer than 54 in a game since the opener. They had 43 at the end of regulation at Virginia.
Virginia: The Cavaliers' inconsistency on offense was on full display in the second half when they didn't score for nearly 3 minutes, then scored 12 consecutive points in about 3 1/2 minutes to take a 35-30 lead. Immediately thereafter, they went 7 minutes without a point.
Syracuse returns home to face Boston College on Wednesday night.
Virginia goes on the road to face No. 10 Florida State on Wednesday night.
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