It is not very often that a 22-point final margin is deceiving about the events of a basketball game, but Saturday’s contest between Syracuse and Virginia was one of those times. The Cavaliers (7-1) simply blew out the visiting Orange (5-3) over the game’s final 25 minutes to secure an 84-62 victory at home in the ACC opener for both squads.
Virginia opened the game by shooting only 6-of-15 from the field, then shot 24-of-40 the remainder of the game, which included missing eight straight shots after the outcome had been decided. The Cavaliers finished at 54.5 percent overall and 57.1 percent on 3-point shots (12-of-21) while SU finished at 40.7 percent and 25.0 percent (5-of-20), respectively.
The remainder of the stat sheet does not show many other markedly tipped comparisons, just a couple small ones that collectively add support to the overwhelming shooting difference. Syracuse had relatively modest deficits in rebounding (33-27) and turnovers (14-10) to support the Cavs, but the hosts’ other strongest statistical advantage was in assists, which is traceable, in some measure, to their superior shooting.
Virginia started that hot shooting in the final five minutes and change of the first half. The Orange had opened the game with five straight points and hung close for 15 minutes, including leading by one just past the midpoint of the session.
The Cavaliers opened a shooting deluge over the final five minutes of the first half, knocking down seven of their last eight shots. That marksmanship allowed them to go into the break on an 18-6 run and holding a 37-24 lead.
The two teams traded scores for the first five minutes after the break, then the ceiling collapsed on SU. Virginia ran off 13 straight points as part of a 21-3 run, blowing the game wide open at 70-38 with a little under ten minutes remaining.
The hosts nudged the margin out to 33 points at one time, then had their stretch of eight straight missed shots. Syracuse took advantage, tallying the next ten points to make the scoreboard more respectable at 75-52 with just over four minutes on the clock.
J.J. Starling led the Orange with 16 points, falling just shy of tying his season high, and knocking down two triples. Maliq Brown added ten points and Quadir Copeland chipped in with eight.
Isaac McKneely roasted the SU defense, hitting six-of-eight 3’s en route to a game-high 22 points. Reece Beekman added 13 points and eight assists, while Andrew Rohde also reached double figures in scoring with ten points.
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