Tyus Battle scored a career-high 23 points and Andrew White added 23 as well as Syracuse landed their fourth straight win on Saturday, 66-62, over No. 9 Virginia.
The win is the 1,000th of Jim Boeheim’s career. He’s just the second men’s Division I head coach and the fourth Division I coach in men’s and women’s basketball to reach that mark. According to the official NCAA record book, Boeheim only has 899 wins; 101 of them were vacated by the NCAA for
“Whatever number we have, I’ve been here for 1,000 wins. That’s a lot of wins,” Boeheim said in a postgame interview on ESPN before walking off the floor with his arms raised as the Carrier Dome crowd gave him a standing ovation. “But the only number that matters is 15.”
That’s how many wins the Orange have on the season, and this win over the Cavaliers pushes them just that much closer to earning an NCAA tournament bid.
It’s also the second consecutive game where Syracuse dug themselves out of a massive hole. The Orange were down 34-22 at the half and, frankly, looked terrible for the first 20 minutes. But the Orange used a 19-2 run to open the second half, taking a 41-36 lead that they would never relinquish. On Wednesday night, the Orange erased a 17-point second half deficit at N.C. State.
The comeback was eerily similar to the one that Syracuse made against the Wahoos in last year’s Elite 8, when the Orange were down 15 points with less than ten minutes left before a 21-2 run sparked their trip to the Final Four.
Syracuse is now 15-9 on the season, and while they’ve beaten both Florida State and Virginia during this four-game winning, the Orange still have some work to do if they’re going to earn themselves an at-large bid. That’s what happens when you have losses to the likes of St. John’s and UConn on your résumé. But the good news is that the Orange are starting to click. They won on Saturday despite the fact that their star, Tyler Lydon, didn’t play all that well.
John Gillon is coming off of a 43-point performance in the win at N.C. State. White is playing his best basketball of the season. After his career-high today, Battle has scored at least 13 points in six of his last ten games. The Orange have talent on their roster, and that talent seems to finally be coming together.