SU Men's Basketball: Syracuse vs Virginia Tech

In Elite Eight rematch, Syracuse men's basketball again stages second half comeback to defeat Virginia

SU tops No. 9 Cavaliers, 66-62, at the Carrier Dome for Boeheim's unofficial 1,000th victory

In a rematch of last season’s Elite Eight, Syracuse mounted another thrilling second-half comeback to upset Virginia, 66-62, and notch head coach Jim Boeheim’s unofficial 1,000th career win.

Virginia was favored coming into the game and the Cavaliers dominated on the defensive end early. UVA forced seven turnovers and limited the Orange to 25 percent shooting from beyond the arc in the first half. Meanwhile, Virginia shot 7-11 from behind the 3-point line, including three from freshmen Kyle Guy. 

Photo: Jonathan Colon
Tyler Lydon reacts in the Syracuse Orange versus Virginia Cavaliers basketball game at the Carrier Dome. The Orange defeated the Virginia Cavaliers, 66-62.

But, following the intermission, the Orange came out on fire. Andrew White III was practically unstoppable, scoring 15 of his 23 points in the second half while grabbing five boards and two steals. Forward Tyler Lydon buried a 3-pointer from way downtown to cap off a 17-2 run that gave Syracuse its first lead. Soon after, the Carrier Dome was deafening.

Guard Tyus Battle put together a solid bounce back effort after failing to reach double-digit scoring in each of his last three games. Late in the game, he came up clutch on multiple possessions as the shot clock wound down, penetrating the staunch Virginia defense and getting to the free throw line. Battle sank multiple free throws down the stretch and tallied 23 points on a 7-11 shooting.

"We were down by 12, but we knew we could come back and win this game,” Battle said about Syracuse’s big second half rally.

Boeheim praised Battle and Lydon’s outstanding efforts on defense. Lydon finished with six points, six rebounds and three blocks. Boeheim said the win meant a lot to him.

 “To get this win today against that coach and this team means more to me than all the other whatever number [of wins] I have,” Boeheim said. 

Syracuse shot a superb 73 percent from the field and 66 percent from beyond the arc in the second half, leading to its comeback. The Orange has now won four straight games.

 “I’m very proud of this group,” Boeheim said “Five games ago, we were out. This group did not listen to that…Let’s keep going.”

Point guard John Gillon commented on his coach’s unofficial milestone victory.

"You can't erase history,” Gillon said. “Coach Boeheim has done an amazing job with this program. He's had some amazing players come through here and I'm just happy to be a part of it here today.''

The victory was Syracuse’s second over a top-10 team in its last three games. SU topped then No. 6 Florida State, 82-72, at the Carrier Dome on Jan. 28.

Next up, the Orange will travel to take on Clemson (13-8, 3-6 ACC) Tuesday. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. from the Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson, South Carolina. 

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