Miami’s ACC woes continue with 73-53 road loss to Syracuse
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Miami’s strategy seemed sound. Force Syracuse, the seventh-best 3-point shooting team in the Atlantic Coast Conference at 34 percent entering the game, to shoot from beyond the arc.
The formula worked great early on. The Orange missed their first five shots of the game – all from long range – and the Hurricanes took an early 17-11 lead.
But Syracuse (14-5, 5-1 ACC) connected on a season-high 14 of their next 25 3s, one shy of the school record, en route to a 73-53 rout of the Hurricanes (9-9, 1-5). Miami employed a man-to-man defense to try and disrupt the Orange but nothing worked after Syracuse got untracked.
“They were shooting the 3s so well we decided to go man-to-man,” said Miami coach Jim Larranaga. “When someone is shooting the 3 and shooting it well you tend to think, OK, you’re down seven or eight points. Maybe we can guard them better in the man and they just exploded.”
“They missed their first few and then they went crazy,” Larranaga added.
“They hit their 3s and we couldn’t do anything about it,” Miami center Ebuka Izundu said.
Elijah Hughes tied a career-high with 22 points to lead the Orange, who has won seven of their last eight and three in a row. Miami has lost five of six.
Hughes was 6-of-9 shooting from long range and also blocked three shots. Buddy Boeheim added 12 points for the Orange, including 3-of-6 from 3. Frank Howard also hit 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. Tyus Battle had all of his 10 points in the second half and a career-best nine assists. Paschal Chukwu had five blocks.
On the defensive end, Syracuse held Miami to its lowest scoring output of the season on 33.9 percent shooting and just 8 of 29 from 3.
Miami held a 22-20 lead when Boeheim came off the bench to hit three 3s and spark an 11-2 run.
“Watching the first couple of minutes, my eyes lit up seeing that zone and knowing the open opportunities I’d have when I got in,” Boeheim said. “Once I got in, my teammates were finding me, gave me open looks and I was able to knock down a couple and it was a good momentum switch going into the second half.”
“Coach Boeheim’s son was the player of the game,” Larranaga said.
The Orange held a slim 32-29 lead at the break but outscored the Hurricanes 41-24 in the second half. Syracuse had a 42-39 margin with 15 minutes to go and went on a 19-5 run to take control.
It was the third straight game the Orange have had double-digit 3s. The Orange shot 49 percent from the field.
“If the (opposing) team’s going to play zone, you have to make some shots,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “It’s as simple as that.”
Dejan Vasiljevic led Miami with 11 points, the lone Hurricane to score in double digits.
“It’s a good win. Our defense was really good in the second half,” Jim Boeheim said. (Chris) Lykes can get by people and we did a pretty good job of keeping him in front. Vasiljevic has always made shots against us but for the most part we did a good job on him.”
Now the heavy lifting begins for Syracuse, who embark on a three-game road trip starting Saturday against No. 10 Virginia Tech.
“Virginia Tech on the road is going to be a good one,” Hughes said. “You just have to prepare and stay locked in.”
ALL TEED UP
Miami coach Jim Larranaga was assessed a technical in the second half for protesting what appeared to be a goaltend by Paschal Chukwu. Tyus Battle hit both free throws.
THE DEFENSE RESTS
Syracuse held Miami guard Chris Lykes to eight points, 10 below his season average, on just 4-of-15 shooting.
Elijah Hughes bounced back from a subpar performance against Pitt on Saturday. In addition to his 22 points, Hughes registered three assists, three steals and three terrific blocks.
Miami: The undermanned Hurricanes, who dress just seven scholarship players, are on the brink of a season going out of control with upcoming games against Florida State, Virginia Tech and Virginia.
Syracuse: The Orange are hitting their stride on offense. Point guard Frank Howard is rounding into form and Buddy Boeheim is providing a spark off the bench.
Miami hosts in-state rival Florida State on Sunday.
The Orange heads south for a matchup Saturday against No. 10 Virginia Tech.