Virginia, newly the No. 8 team in the country and coming off a quick turnaround, easily dispatched the visiting Syracuse Orange, 81-58, on Monday night at John Paul Jones Arena. Minus a slow stretch in the second half where Cuse broke out the flashback-causing press, the Hoos were dominant. With the win, Virginia improved to 11-2 and moved to 7-0 in the ACC.
Jay Huff set a new career high with 21 points, going 8-for-11 from the field as he got a double-double with 12 rebounds. Sam Hauser, who has been absolutely electric the last few games, matched a career-high in made threes in a game as he went 7-for-13 from deep for 21 points. Kihei Clark finished with nine assists and two turnovers, and both Trey Murphy (16 points) and Reece Beekman (10 points) hit double digits in the win.
As a team, Virginia shot 49% from the field and 45% from three, connecting on 14-of-31 attempts from beyond the arc. The Hoos turned it over 13 times, but handed out 23 assists on 29 made field goals (79%).
Quincy Guerrier led the Orange with 15 points, followed by Alan Griffin with 13. Syracuse shot 35% from the field and 21% from three. They turned the ball over 12 times, leading to 17 points for the Hoos.
The Syracuse zone got to Virginia early as the Hoos missed their first two shots and turned the ball over twice in the first four possessions. Virginia would get a jumper from Clark, two threes — one from each Hauser and Murphy — and an alley-oop dunk from Huff to turn a 4-0 deficit into a 10-6 lead. Two more alley-oops pushed Virginia’s lead to eight as Syracuse struggled to stop the Hoos or make a basket of their own.
A basket from Boeheim ended Syracuse’s 5:13 scoring drought, but Virginia was stuck on 14 as Morsell and Hauser missed threes. A Beekman steal-and-score was answered with another make from Boeheim, keeping the Cavaliers’ advantage at six. Griffin missed a chance to convert an old-fashioned three point play after his layup made it 16-12, and Murphy atoned for his foul with a big three.
Clark found Hauser in transition for a three that gave Virginia its biggest lead of the game at eight, but Guerrier connected on a long-two from just inside the arc. Hauser’s third three of the first half was answered by Dolezaj — his second bucket of the half — as the Orange kept Virginia at arm’s reach.
Hauser hit another three before a mini 5-0 run by Syracuse cut Virginia’s lead to seven with 4:33 left in the first half. A Boeheim three made it 30-26, but Huff responded with a smooth jumper from the free throw line. Virginia closed the half with five unanswered points as Hauser’s fifth three of the half gave the Hoos a 35-26 advantage going into the break.
Unsurprisingly, Hauser led Virginia with 15 points on 5-for-8 shooting from downtown. Murphy — who had a three rim out as time expired in the first half — had eight points and four boards over the first 20 minutes as the Hoos shot 45% from the field and 41% from three. Virginia dished 11 assists on 14 made buckets, moving the ball well. They did turn the ball over six times, but Cuse could only turn that into six points.
Clark was just 1-for-4 from the field in the first half, but he had five assists and no turnovers against the zone.
Defensively, Virginia allowed the Orange to shoot 40% from the field, but just 2-for-11 (18%) from three in the first half. Boeheim led the visiting squad with nine points, followed by Griffin with seven.
Hauser started off the second half scoring with his sixth three of the contest, and Huff got in on the action with a three of his own to make it 41-26 and force Jim Boeheim to call a timeout with just 1:40 off the clock. Four quick points from Syracuse kept the pressure on, but Murphy got a three to fall from the corner to make it 44-30. Girard’s first three of the game came with 15:58 left on the clock, but Clark’s sixth assist of the game found Huff for another alley-oop.
Beekman got in on the three-point barrage, hitting the team’s 11th of the game to make it 49-33 with 13:46 to play. Griffin cut into the lead slightly with a long two with Murphy’s hand in his face, then Braswell cut the Virginia advantage back to 11 with a three.
Guerrier ended a 7-0 Virginia run with a layup and free throw to make it 56-41 with 10:18 remaining. Hauser’s seventh three was matched by Girard, and Syracuse started to press. Virginia turned the ball over four times almost immediately, but the Orange couldn’t take advantage as they struggled with turnovers and misses of their own. Huff ended the scoring drought, but two free throws from Dolezaj negated the points on the scoreboard.
Virginia broke the press again, and Huff got dunks on back-to-back possessions to make it 65-48 with just under seven minutes remaining. A steal-and-score by Guerrier made it a 13-point game with just over four to play, but Murphy hit a three from the corner and Beekman forced a turnover near mid-court to give the Hoos a chance to burn more time and build their lead.
A late three from Morsell would close the Virginia scoring, and the Hoos would cruise to their 15th straight conference win. Next up, the Cavaliers head to Blacksburg to face the Hokies at 6pm on Saturday.