Huge Second Half Carries Pitt Away From Syracuse
PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Despite a career high 28 points from Alan Griffin, Pittsburgh (7-2, 3-1 ACC) used a 62-point second half performance to pull away from Syracuse (7-4, 1-3 ACC) and win at Petersen Events Center on Saturday afternoon by a score of 96-76.
Quincy Guerrier recorded his ACC-leading sixth double-double (18 points, 12 rebounds) while also tallying four blocks. Marek Dolezaj (14 points) and Buddy Boeheim (12 points) joined Griffin and Guerrier with double-digit point totals.
HOW THE GAME WAS DECIDED
With the Orange down by a triple, 61-58, the Panthers outscored Syracuse 19-7 over a 4:30 stretch that featured seven points from Xavier Johnson to take an 80-65 lead with 4:32 left in the contest. The Panthers closed the final 1:55 of the game on a 6-0 run to secure the 96-76 victory.
FROM COACH BOEHEIM
"This was a defensive game, and we couldn't get stops" said Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim. "We're going to have to find some way to be better defensively moving forward."
BACK AND FORTH WITH THE BLUE AND GOLD
Syracuse scored the game's first six points and sped out to a 9-1 lead over the opening six minutes. The Orange defense held the Panthers to 0-of-10 shooting from the field during the stretch.
With the Orange up 17-9 nearing the midway point of the half, the Panthers began to close the gap. Pitt scored five unanswered points on a triple from Ithiel Horton and a pair of free throws from Justin Champagnie to make the Orange advantage, 17-14. Two minutes later, the Panthers embarked on an 8-0 run that featured five points from Au'Diese Toney to take a 24-21 lead with 5:47 to play in the half.
As the first half neared its conclusion, the momentum began to shift in Syracuse's favor. The Orange closed the final 3:30 of the opening period on a 10-2 scoring stretch that featured a pair of driving layups from Dolezaj and gave them a 37-32 lead at the break.
PANTHERS POWER BACK
The Panthers powered ahead to start the second stanza with eight unanswered points to take a 40-37 lead. The Orange quickly answered back with a 5-0 run of their own to go back up 42-40 with 17:34 to play.
The lead changed hands again with 16:24 to play as a Champagnie layup kicked off a 7-0 Pittsburgh scoring streak over a minute of play to put the Panthers up 50-44.
The Panthers continued powering forward with a 16-4 stretch over the course of four minutes that held the Orange without a field goal and made their lead 59-48 with 12:28 left in the game.
SYRACUSE CLOSES IN
Trailing by 10 with 10:56 to play, Griffin gave the Orange an offensive spark with a pair of free throws and a running lay-in. Field goals from Dolezaj and Guerrier provided the 'Cuse cause with a 9-0 run and made the Pittsburgh advantage 61-58 with 9:17 to play.
Guerrier also recorded his 400th career point on a second-half layup and played his 1,000th career minute for the Orange.
Buddy Boeheim dished out a career-best five assists.
Alan Griffin's 28 points are the most in a game by a Syracuse player this season. The Illinois transfer's ninth point of the game gave him 500 career points.
Griffin also recorded a career-high 10 field goals, the most by a Syracuse player since Elijah Hughes had 11 at Boston College last season.
Syracuse returns to the Carrier Dome to face off against Miami on Tuesday, January 19. Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the game can be viewed on ACC Network.