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Virginia falls to Syracuse in overtime, 63-55

The Hoos drop back-to-back ACC games for the first time since 2017.

Syracuse v Virginia Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images

The Virginia Cavaliers dropped its second straight game in ACC play as the Hoos fell to Syracuse in overtime, 63-55. This is the first time Virginia has lost back-to-back ACC games since February of 2017 when the Hoos lost four straight. With the loss, Virginia fell to 11-4 (3-2 ACC).

The Orange dropped 20 points in overtime to secure the win, hitting five threes (on six attempts) in the extra five minutes of play.

Jay Huff led Virginia with 16 points and earned the double-double with 10 rebounds. Huff struggled at the free throw line, going 2-for-7 for the game. Both Kihei Clark and Mamadi Diakite finished with 13 points.

“It’s hard to win.” Coach Bennett said after the game when discussing the opportunities left on the court by Virginia.

Virginia shot 31.3% from the field for the game and went 7-for-31 (22.6%) from three. Turnovers reared their head again as the Hoos turned it over 15 times, leading to 11 points for the Orange. Clark, Huff, and Stattmann all finished with four turnovers apiece.

Joe Girard finished with 19 points on 5-for-14 shooting, with all of his points coming from three (5-for-11) and the free throw line (4-for-4). Elijah Hughes added 18 points on 7-for-20 shooting.

Virginia has matched its total conference losses from last season with the loss Saturday afternoon, and the youth and inexperience of the team showed at times. “You’ve got to be able to win together, and you have got to be able to lose together,” Bennett said of his young team.

After coming up empty on its first two possessions, Huff put the Hoos ahead with a made bucket in the paint. Syracuse knotted things at two after Hughes tipped in a miss from Buddy Boeheim on a play that was kept alive by several tip outs from the Orange.

Clark and Girard traded threes, and Syracuse took its first lead of the game with a layup from Dolezaj. Neither team would score for the next 2:47 until Diakite tied the game at the line with a pair of free throws. Diakite gave the lead back to Virginia with a nifty baseline jumper with 11:52 to play in the first half. Dolezaj knotted the score up at 9-all with two made free throws, and Boeheim put Syracuse back in front as the clock clicked through 10 minutes to play.

After a handful of misses and a botched offensive foul call against Virginia, Key tied the game at 11-11 before Hughes connected on a three to put Cuse back up 14-11. Hughes built the Orange lead to six with another three — his second of the half — and Clark was unable to answer with one of his own. Diakite stemmed the bleeding with a baseline jumper identical to his first, and Huff cut the lead to two with an emphatic dunk with 4:25 to play in the half.

Virginia left points on the line, and Syracuse built a 7-point lead by virtue of a goal tend against Diakite and a three from Girard. Clark connected on a badly-needed three to cut the lead to four, but the second year guard was called for a foul after what looked like a clean steal. Girard put Cuse up six, but a follow dunk by Huff on a missed three from Woldetensae sent the home team to the break trailing 24-20.

The Hoos were fortunate to trail by just four at the half after shooting 18.2% from three (2-for-12) and turning the ball over nine times in the half. Virginia actually outshot Syracuse from the field in the first half (30.8%-25%), but the Orange connected on 4-of-13 (30.8%) from three. Girard and Hughes tied with eight points apiece for Syracuse in the first half.

Virginia’s turnover woes continued as the Hoos had nine in the first half. Lucky for the Cavaliers, the Orange only managed to turn them into five points. Clark, Diakite, and Huff all had six points for the Hoos in the first half, and only Key (two points) got into the scoring column.

Syracuse got on the board first in the second half as they pushed their lead to six with a layup from Sidibe. A miss from Key led to an easy bucket in transition for Hughes, giving the Orange their biggest lead of the game. Clark’s third three of the game made it 28-23, but another easy transition play from Hughes led Virginia to call a timeout.

Woldetensae’s first bucket of the game was badly needed as he hit a three to make it 30-26, and Key followed with one of his own to pull the Hoos within one with 15:17 to play. Huff got the crowd fully back into it with a put back for the lead, and Cuse would call a timeout.

Buckets from Huff and Clark built the lead to 35-30 as Virginia rattled off a 12-0 run. Dolezaj gave Syracuse its first points in nearly seven minutes with two free throws, and Girard took advantage of a questionable offensive foul call against Huff to tie the game at 35 with 9:46 to play.

Huff missed two free throws that would have given Virginia the lead, but Key played outstanding one-on-one defense against Hughes to keep things knotted. Guerrier put the Orange ahead by one with a free throw as the clock approached five minutes remaining, but Key swished a mid-range two to give Virginia the 37-36 advantage.

A three from Hughes put Syracuse back in front, but a turnover led to a dunk in transition from Huff to tie things 39-39 with 4:00 to play. One free throw from Dolezaj gave Syracuse a slim advantage, but an offensive rebound and slam dunk from Huff gave the Hoos a 41-40 lead as the clock approached three minutes to play.

Just as before, Syracuse responded with a three — this time from Boeheim — to give the Orange a two point lead. Huff pulled down another offensive rebound but didn’t see Girard coming for the turnover. Clark tied things up with two made free throws, bringing the crowd to their feet. The Orange missed a shot but were able to grab the rebound and reset the offense.

Clark’s shot just missed, and time ran out on regulation with the score tied 43-43.

Virginia took a two-point lead to open overtime, but Hughes connected on a contested three to give Syracuse a one-point advantage. Girard pushed the lead to four with another three, and Boeheim quickly put Syracuse up by seven with a transition three.

Two free throws from Huff were negated by a jumper from Boeheim, but a long two from Diakite kept the Hoos in striking distance, down five with 2:29 to play. Syracuse finally missed a three in OT, but Virginia couldn’t take advantage as Huff turned it over down low. Boeheim proved it just wasn’t meant to be as he one-hand heaved a shot from nearly mid-court as the shot clock expired to put Cuse up by eight with 1:17 left.

Girard piled on with Syracuse’s fifth three of the overtime period, and Diakite answered with one of his own. Two free throws from Girard were met with a three from Woldetensae, but the Hoos still trailed by seven with under 30 seconds to play.

Boeheim would add one free throw to cap off the scoring, and Virginia would stop fouling after missing from three.

Next up, Virginia has to head to Tallahassee to take on Florida State. That game will be 7pm on Tuesday on the ESPN family of networks.