Alan Griffin (pictured earlier this season) led Syracuse with 26 points in Orange’s loss to Georgia Tech.
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As soon as the whistle of Marek Dolezaj’s foul on Moses Wright rang out and the ball hit the edge of the basket, the Syracuse senior jogged off the pitch.
He sat up the chair and wiped his face with a white Gatorade towel. He rubbed the hair on his face and stared into the distance at the square. Dolezaj was fouled, and all he could do now was watch.
Watch the Orange, who went from the Sweet 16 in their freshman year, to a loss in the opening round of the NCAA tournament in its sophomore year switched, probably playing two consecutive missed tournaments.
In the most important 20 minutes of the season to date, Syracuse’s collapse against Georgia Tech ruined his last planned chance for a Quadrant 1 win. The Orange ran a 23-5 run to regain the halfway point, but Georgia Tech (13-8, 9-6 Atlantic Coast) faced Syracuse (13-8, 7-7), 84-77 Syracuse’s last few games have been characterized by slow starts and sometimes comebacks. When the orange fell in double digits to Duke, Clemson and Virginia, it never made a comeback. Against Notre Dame, Buffalo and North Carolina State, SU turned halftime deficits into necessary home wins. On Saturday at GT, Syracuse had both the slow start and comeback after converting a 13-point deficit in the first half into a 5-point lead during the break.
The warning signs of the damage, Georgia Tech could inflict on the Syracuse zone but came well before the second half. It took less than a minute for GT to show his explosiveness and internal dominance.
Head coach Jim Boeheim ran onto the pitch 42 seconds after the start of the game and yelled to an official what he thought was an indictment against Dolezaj under the basket.
Boeheim yelled and gestured, and within seconds of stepping on the field, the referee called him for a technical foul. GT Senior Guard Jose Alvarado sank both free throws and within a minute Syracuse had started their two most important games of the season in a row by spotting the opponent’s early lead. GT scored the first eight points, six of them in the color.
Minutes later, Syracuse’s deficit rose to 10. For the fifth time in seven games, SU was double-digit and Dolezaj had two fouls. Boeheim tried to mix and match lineups. He ousted Joe Girard III for Kadary Richmond, Robert Braswell for Quincy Guerrier and John Bol Ajak for Dolezaj. But that didn’t work either.
In the first half, Syracuse’s only constant was an enigmatic striker, Alan Griffin. Five days after one of his worst games of the year when he lost to Duke, Griffin had his best all-round half of the season. With 20 points in the first half, the Orange transformed, 13 points behind, into a five point lead at half time.
When Syracuse’s offense was reversed five times in the first five minutes, Griffins two 3s delivered six of the first eight points of orange. When SU stuttered on the offensive and guarded Alvarado’s face Buddy Boeheim, Griffin hit the button for three seconds in a row. After an offensive rebound, he missed a short midfielder. After filling the lane in the crossing, Griffin sprinted into the corner to get a pass from Richmond, then without hesitation emptied a 3rd.
The Orange had managed to beat another slow first half, but with 20 minutes of play, Syracuse was far from winning. Georgia Tech, the nation’s fourth most experienced team, had a chance to make its first NCAA tournament appearance in over a decade if it could continue its winning streak in three games.
GT stepped up its defensive pressure as Griffin cooled . Wright dunks traded the yellow jackets inside for Syracuse sales and competitive jump shots on the other end. It took the Yellow Jackets less than four minutes to regain the lead in the second half, and GT easily broke the Orange’s press in the second half.
Wright had four dunks. In the following two possessions, after Dolezaj fouled out of the game, Georgia Tech turned Syracuse over and ran out to get two consecutive dunks in transition.
And while Dolezaj sat on the bench, no one was protecting the rim. After Griffin cooled off, there was no one to save Syracuse’s season.
RT @DOsports: Alan Griffin’s 20 points in the first half helped Syracuse make a comeback in the first half. But the orange hissed down the track …
Alan Griffin’s 20 points in the first half helped Syracuse make a comeback in the first half. But the orange hissed the… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
« It was just about inspiring, uplifting, motivating, encouraging and teaching other women like me, » To said … Twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Syracuse missed another opportunity to win a Q1 in their 84-77 loss to Georgia Tech. Three takeaways from… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
RT @AnthonyDabbundo: FINAL: Georgia Tech 84, Syracuse 77.
The orange was 13 in the first half and Alan Griffin’s unconscious shot …
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