Virginia Tech played Syracuse tough for most of the game, but a big second half run propelled the #2 Orange to a 72-52 win in Cassell Coliseum on Tuesday night. Syracuse improved to 15-0 on the season, while the Hokies dropped to 8-6 overall and 1-1 in ACC play.
A Ben Emelogu jumper with 14:44 remaining in the game cut the Syracuse lead to 44-40, and an upset – or at least a close ending – looked within reach. However, the Orange used their superier athleticsm and NBA talent to go on a 16-0 run. The Hokies went on a long scoring slump against Jim Boeheim’s vaunted 2-3 zone, and with 6:46 remaining it was 60-40 Syracuse. At that point, the game was over.
The Hokies got a good game from junior power forward C.J. Barksdale, who was listed as questionable (knee, ankle, stomach flu). He had 12 points and four rebounds off the bench, and he was 5-of-6 from the field. Adam Smith, who was also questionable (calf), finished with nine points. Freshman guard Ben Emelogu had nine points as well.
In general, Tech did not play poorly. They only turned the ball over eight times, but they couldn’t get much going offensively against a very tall Syracuse team that features at least three NBA draft picks amongst their top six players. Preseason ACC Player of the Year CJ Fair had 17 for the Orange, while three other Syracuse players also scored in double figures.
Tech was outrebounded 41-25. Joey van Zegeren led the Hokies with five boards, and he also finished with six points, two assists, two blocks and a steal. The Orange finished with 17 offensive rebounds and 15 second chance points.
The Hokies return to action this Saturday when they host Boston College. Tipoff is scheduled for noon, and the game will be televised by RSN. Check your local listings.