Late Surge Carries Tar Heels Past Syracuse
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - A 23-points, 11-rebound double-double from Quincy Guerrier was not enough for Syracuse (7-3, 1-2 ACC) and the Orange fell short at North Carolina (8-4, 3-2 ACC) in Chapel Hill on Tuesday evening, 81-75.
HOW THE GAME WAS DECIDED
With the game knotted at 68-68, Day'Ron Sharpe sank two free throws to put the Tar Heels ahead of the Orange by a pair. UNC would not relinquish the lead for the remainder of the contest, outscoring the Orange 14-7 over the game's final three minutes. A late 3-pointer from Alan Griffin brought Syracuse within four, but the Tar Heels made four free-throw attempts in the final 21 seconds to seal the victory.
In addition to his ACC-leading fifth double-double of the season, Guerrier tied his personal-best in field goals made (9) and set a career high in blocks (5). The sophomore forward was joined by Buddy Boeheim (18) and Griffin (16) with double-digit scoring totals.
FROM COACH BOEHEIM
"Our offense was good enough" said Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim. "We tried to get back and we did a pretty good job. We almost have to play a perfect game on offense, but we got beat up in the paint and they gave everything they had inside."
NECK AND NECK IN NORTH CAROLINA
The Orange held an 18-16 advantage with 11 minutes to play in the half, but the Tar Heels took control during a 9-0 run over a three-minute span that featured four points from Armando Bacot and gave UNC a 25-18 lead.
The Heels continued to stretch out their lead, which reached 10 upon taking a 36-26 advantage with 4:19 to play in the opening frame. However, the Orange outscored UNC 14-4 over the last four minutes of the half to reach the break tied, 40-40. Boeheim knocked down a pair of triples and a midrange jumper during the stretch and finished the half with 18 points on seven field goals. Boeheim's points were the most in the first half by a Syracuse player this season.
RUNNING DOWN A DREAM
The Tar Heels embarked on a torrid scoring stretch out of the intermission, tallying the first nine points of the half over a three-minute stretch to take a 49-40 lead. Yet just as they did in the first half, the 'Cuse closed the gap by countering with a scoring run of its own, which featured 13 unanswered points over the course of four minutes to take a 53-49 lead with 13:14 to play.
After a triple from Joseph Girard III (6 points, 3 assists) gave the Orange a 56-51 advantage, the series of scoring runs continued when North Carolina constructed a 13-0 stretch that featured seven points from RJ Davis. A layup from Guerrier got the Orange back on the board and made the UNC edge 64-58 with 7:50 left in the game.
With the Tar Heels ahead by seven, the Orange began to claw their way back. Syracuse started on an 8-0 run that covered three minutes and put the Orange back on top, 68-67, with 3:21 to play. The stretch featured only one field goal, a transition layup from Kadary Richmond, and six Syracuse makes from the free-throw line.
With his first field goal of the game, Buddy Boeheim reached 800 career points. The field goal also allowed him to pass his brother Jimmy's career scoring total (800). Jimmy's Cornell Big Red have not played this season due to the Ivy League canceling the 2020-21 winter sport season.
Marek Dolezaj also secured his 800th career point on a free throw late in the second half.
The Orange defense recorded nine blocks on the evening, the most by Syracuse in a regulation contest since matching the feat on February 8, 2020 against Wake Forest.
Alan Griffin tied his career-high with three blocks.
The Orange bested the Tar Heels in field goal percentage, converting 46.7 percent of shots while North Carolina made only 39.7 percent of its opportunities.
Syracuse looks to avenge last week's loss to Pittsburgh when it takes on the Panthers at Petersen Events Center on Saturday, January 16. Tip off is scheduled for 12 p.m.