Syracuse doesn’t necessarily have the offensive game to blow out unranked opponents, but the No. 4 Orange are used to winning tight games. Jim Boeheim’s ballclub bounced back from Saturday’s loss to Duke to knock off Maryland 57-55 on Monday for an ACC road win.
The Orange gave up a late run to Maryland and allowed the Terrapins a final shot down two with 3.5 seconds left, but Seth Allen’s three-point attempt was off as the buzzer sounded.
While the win wasn’t pretty for Syracuse, they once again showed a penchant for winning close games. Although the Orange lost two straight to Boston College and Duke, they’ve won close games against Miami (twice), Pitt, NC State and Notre Dame this season and usually have someone step up to win them the game when its on the line.
On Monday, Syracuse got big shots from multiple players. C.J. Fair (17 points) rattled home a three-pointer from the corner with 3:06 left to put the Orange up by six and on the next Syracuse possession, Trevor Cooney’s (nine points) spinning drive and free-throw line jumper gave the Orange their final necessary field goal to close out the game. From there, Tyler Ennis (team-high 20 points) made a free throw to put the pressure on and the Orange escaped again.
But Syracuse has to be concerned in these games in which only two players contribute most of their points. It’s not that Syracuse can’t win games in the 50s like they did on Monday — because they’re more than comfortable with that — but in the case of Maryland, because Seth Allen got hot from the perimeter, just one player was almost able to knock off a top-5 team.
The Orange are really good, really balanced and the 2-3 zone causes issues, but there are going to be nights they need to make sure one guy doesn’t get hot enough to beat them if their offense isn’t clicking.
This was a tough road win for Syracuse following Saturday’s loss and the Orange have to be happy about getting out of Maryland with a ‘W’.