SU vs. Pittsburgh

Orange triumphant on Senior Day

Michael Gbinije notched a career-high 34 points to lead the Orange to 75-66 victory.

After an extremely disappointing performance last week against Pittsburgh in which he recorded just 10 points, graduate student Michael Gbinije scored a career-high 34 points to propel the Orange (19-10, 9-7 ACC) to a 75-66 win over the visiting North Carolina State Wolfpack (14-15, 4-12 ACC).


The victory was made all the more sweet thanks to the fact that it fell on Senior Day, as Syracuse honored Gbinije and fellow seniors Trevor Cooney and Christian White.

Photo: Xiang Wei


“It’s emotional. I remember transferring in with guys like James Southerland, who was still on that team, people like that,” Gbinije said. “So you start to have a whole bunch of flashbacks all at once.”


Gbinije started strong, making three of his first five shots from the field. This hot start was even more important considering that the rest of the team looked like it was continuing their cold shooting of past games.


“Mike was unbelievable,” head coach Jim Boeheim said. “He put us on his back and carried us.”


Thankfully for the Orange, the secondary scoring stepped up in the second half. Freshman forward Tyler Lydon put the Orange up 51-34 at the 14:00 mark with a three-point shot, followed by a big dunk to give Syracuse their largest lead of the game. Lydon would total 11 points, five rebounds and three assists.


Fellow freshman Malachi Richardson also had a solid, all-around game, finishing with 13 points, seven assists, six rebounds and three steals. Like Gbinije, Richardson was also coming off a poor performance in the lost to Pittsburgh, when he recorded just six points.


But it was Gbinije who dominated from start to finish, scoring 22 points in the second half, including a huge dunk with 10:00 on the clock to put the Orange up 56-44. Working against NC State’s star junior guard Anthony “Cat” Barber, Gbinije made shots from all over the floor.


“As the game progressed I started to test things out,” Gbinije said. “Shot after shot, I felt good, I felt good, and all of a sudden…I just had a good game.”


In addition to his 34 points – on 11-18 shooting from the field, plus 8-13 from three – Gbinije finished with six assists, four rebounds and three blocks.


“It was his game,” Boeheim said. “Probably as good as any senior’s ever had that I can recall.”


The Orange will travel to face the mighty #7 North Carolina Tar Heels (23-5, 12-3 ACC) on Monday, Feb. 29 at 7:00 p.m.


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