Syracuse has a shot- Orange stuns #18 Clemson for big bubble win
They have a shot.
Syracuse Basketball has more than a decent chance to make the NCAA Tournament.
It's all the Orange can ask for and Syracuse earned it with a 55-52 win over #18 Clemson in front of 28,670 fans at the Carrier Dome, the largest on-campus crowd of the season.
Tyus Battle scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half to spark a run that gave the Orange a 7-point lead. Clemson briefly reclaimed that advantage late in the game but the Orange made its free throws at the end to ice it.
"It was just a grind it out game. Clemson is very good, a very good basketball team and a very good defensive team. We had to struggle for everything we got tonight but at the end of the day, we made a couple of plays at the end and that was the difference" Orange Head Coach Jim Boeheim said after the game.
We'd be remiss if we didn't mention the unsung heroes of the game, Marek Dolezaj was solid with seven first half points and a key free throw at the end of the game. Meanwhile Paschal Chukwu was dominant on defense with four blocks.
"It prevented them from getting a layup and that is the most important thing. We needed it. I think it was tied at the time. We need those plays from him (Chukwu). He starts out the game good and we need him to be more effective defensively for sure.”
With the victory, Syracuse improves to 19-12 on the season, inserting itself right back into that bubble picture. By most accounts, the Orange needs another win or two at the ACC Tournament to feel good about its NCAA Tournament chances but that remains to be seen.
The ACC Tournament starts Tuesday for Syracuse as the 11-seed in that tournament. The Orange will play the 14-seed Wake Forest on Tuesday night at 7pm at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Syracuse and Wake split their two matchups during the regular season.
Suffice to say, the Orange needs to beat the Demon Deacons to keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive. For today though, the Orange can celebrate a headlining win on its resume. Clemson is the highest rated win by the computer numbers for the Orange all season.