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Girard's Late 3 Lifts Syracuse Past Bryant

SYRACUSE, N.Y.Joseph Girard III buried a clutch 3-pointer with two minutes to play and Marek Dolezaj secured a crucial offensive rebound with 11 seconds left to help Syracuse (1-0) overcome a seven-point halftime deficit and defeat Bryant (0-1), 85-84.

Trailing by two with under two minutes to play, Girard buried the longball to put the Orange up one, 83-82.

After Dolezaj sank two free throws to stretch the Orange advantage to three, Bryant's Michael Green III cut down the lane and found the bucket to narrow the 'Cuse lead to 85-84 with 13 seconds to play. The Bulldogs then sent Quincy Guerrier to the line, where the sophomore missed the front end of a one-and-one before Dolezaj darted for the rebound, securing the ball and another opportunity from the charity stripe.

Bryant earned another offensive attempt after a Dolezaj miss, but the Bulldogs could not bury another basket, sealing the Orange victory.

FROM COACH BOEHEIM

"I thought we showed a lot of resilience by fighting back and getting the lead," said Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim. "We missed a couple of free throws, but we still got back and made stops. Our defense was better in the second half, but we'll use these next few days to regroup and get back in rhythm."

DOUBLING UP

Junior guard Buddy Boeheim paced Syracuse with 23 points while both Guerrier (15 points, 12 rebounds) and Alan Griffin (14 points, 12 rebounds) notched double-doubles. It was the first time since January 5, 2019 at Notre Dame that two Syracuse players recorded double-doubles in the same game (Oshae Brissett and Elijah Hughes against the Irish).

BULLDOGS PLAY TUG-OF-WAR

Bryant burst out of the gates with six quick points on an and-one from Hall Elisias and a triple from Syracuse-native Charles Pride. The Bulldogs went five-of-five from the field in the first four minutes before the Orange offense asserted itself. A three-point play from Boeheim cut the deficit to two and Griffin notched a triple for his first Orange points to put the 'Cuse up one, 15-14, in the first five minutes.

Back-to-back trifectas from Chris Childs had the visitors back in front before Kadary Richmond came through with his first collegiate field goal. Boeheim then sank a pair from the charity stripe to bring the Orange within one with 12 to go in the half.

After the Bulldogs regained their lead, the Orange outside shooters kept the game close. Griffin pulled up for another triple while Richmond hit from downtown for the first time in an Orange uniform to knot the score at 27. Guerrier then grinded his way to the cup to put the 'Cuse back on top, 29-27.

Trailing 41-38 with three to go in the half, Griffin buried his third 3-pointer of the game to even the score at 41. The Bulldogs answered with a 10-0 run to re-establish their advantage.

Boeheim hit a 3-pointer in the final minute of the half, cutting the deficit to 44-51 at the intermission. The Fayetteville-native led Syracuse scorers with 13 first half points.

A DOG FIGHT DOWN THE STRETCH

The teams embarked on a back-and forth affair to begin the second stanza. Peter Kiss contributed eight points for the Bulldogs in the first five minutes of the half to push the Bryant advantage to 63-52.

But Guerrier refused to let the Orange fall any further. He found his way to the rim for two and then snatched the ball from a blitzing Bulldog on the ensuing defensive possession. The sophomore asserted his way to the bucket and threw down an emphatic two-handed slam to cut the deficit to seven with under 14 to play.

A pair of free throws from Dolezaj and a dazzling transition layup from Griffin put Syracuse within five before Guerrier graced the Orange with another basket to cut the Bryant lead to 65-62 and force Bulldog timeout with 12 to go.

The Bulldogs barked back to take a seven-point advantage, capped off by a three-point play from Childs to make the score 73-66. But Buddy brought the Orange back, drilling a shot from beyond the arc for his third trifecta of the ballgame. Then, a leaping steal from Dolezaj sent the Orange up-court, where Boeheim was all alone to bury the triple and put the Orange within one, 72-73, with just over eight minutes to play.

THE DOG DAYS ARE OVER

Nearly two minutes of scoreless play ensued after a Bryant timeout before Girard III notched his first 3-pointer of the game to end the stalemate and put the Orange back on top, 75-73. A midrange jumper from Green III pulled the Bulldogs even, but Guerrier gave a quick answer by finessing his way to the rim for the score, putting the Orange up by two, 77-75, with six minutes on the clock.

After the Bulldogs pulled ahead by a pair, a long rebound off a Childs miss sent Girard III bounding down the floor to corral the ball and lob it up Griffin, who reached back and dropped the hammer to even the score at 80 with 3:34 to play.

NOTABLE NUMBERS

  • The win marks Jim Boeheim's 40th victory in a home opener during his tenure as Syracuse head coach. Since taking the helm at his alma mater in 1976, Boeheim is 40-5 in home openers.

  • Marek Dolezaj scored his 700th career point after sinking the first of a pair of free throws at the start of the second half. He also recorded his 200th collegiate assist.

  • With a second half 3-pointer, Joseph Girard III (6 points) notched his 400th career point. His third rebound of the game also marked the 100th of his career.

  • Alan Griffin notched the second double-double of his career with 14 points and 12 rebounds. The 12 boards ties a career high for Griffin.

  • Quincy Guerrier posted a double-double for the fourth time in his collegiate career (15 pts., 12 rebs.). He also set a new career-standard with seven made field goals.

UP NEXT

The Orange return to the Carrier Dome to take on Niagara on Thursday, December 3. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

Alan Griffin races upcourt toward a double-double for SU. (SU Athletics Photo)

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