Syracuse basketball nearly retrieves 20-point 2nd-half deficit, but Pitt hangs on, 84-82

Syracuse basketball nearly retrieves 20-point 2nd-half deficit, but Pitt hangs on, 84-82

Updated: 3 months, 11 days, 9 hours, 15 minutes, 13 seconds ago

Syracuse, N.Y. ― The Syracuse Orange looked flat for almost 35 minutes, but almost stunned Pittsburgh with a furious rally in the game’s final five minutes before falling 84-82 at the JMA Wireless Dome on Tuesday night.

The Orange trailed 73-54 with 9 minutes left in the game but miraculously came back and had two chances to win the game in the final seconds.

Syracuse’s Joe Girard cut the Panthers’ lead to 83-82 with a 3-pointer with 41 seconds left. On Pittsburgh’s next possession, Panthers guard Jamarius Burton pushed off Judah Mintz for an offensive foul, giving Syracuse the ball with 17 seconds left.

After a timeout, Mintz tried to feed the ball to SU center Jesse Edwards in the low post, but Pitt forward Blake Hinson sniffed out the play and swooped in for the steal.

Hinson was immediately fouled with 6 seconds remaining. He made one of two free throws to make the score 84-82.

Mintz took the inbounds pass, dribbled across halfcourt but took an off-balance shot while being heavily defended. The shot missed and Syracuse’s improbable rally had fallen short.

Syracuse fell to 8-5 overall and 1-1 in the ACC. Pittsburgh won for the eighth time in its last nine games to improve to 9-4 on the season and 2-0 in the conference.

Pittsburgh spent the game’s first 35 minutes carving up the Orange’s zone defense, finding open shots from 3-point range and wide open spaces in the lane. The Panthers made 46% of their field-goal attempts and made 13 out of 32 shots (41%) from 3-point range to snap Syracuse’s five-game win streak.

Blake Hinson led Pittsburgh with 25 points and 13 rebounds, but a familiar face came back to haunt Syracuse.

Nelly Cummings, the former Colgate guard, made his return to the Dome a memorable one with 22 points. Cummings made six out of 11 shots from 3-point range. A year ago, Cummings had scored 18 points in Colgate’s 100-85 stunner against Syracuse at the Dome.

Syracuse went to its fullcourt press to try to get back into the game, but when the Panthers beat the pressure, Edwards committed his fourth foul with 15:36 remaining.

Edwards had eight points, six rebounds and two blocks as he took a seat on the bench, while Pitt’s Blake Hinson hit two free throws to give the Panthers a 54-42 lead.

Pitt would extend its lead to 19 points as Edwards sat. The Panthers led by as many as 20 midway through the second half.

Syacuse coach Jim Boeheim sent Edwards back into the game with 10 minutes remaining in a move that smacked of desperation.

But the Orange did stage a late-game rally. SU closed to within 79-72 with just under 5 minutes remaining when freshman Quadir Copeland was fouled on a 3-pointer and then hit the free throw to complete the four-point play.

Girard drained a 3-pointer with just under 2 minutes left to cut the margin to 81-77. Copeland scored off a rebound to make it 83-79. Girard then followed up with another 3, but that’s where the comeback ended.

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