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Hokies Drop Conference Opener to Syracuse, 68-56

The Hokies remain winless at the Carrier Dome after a forgetful New Year’s Eve performance.

NCAA Basketball: Virginia Tech at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

In their first ACC game, Syracuse’s 2-3 zone proved to be too much. After an abysmal first half performance where the Hokies scored a measly 19 points, Virginia Tech finished the game shooting just 34.6 percent from the field, after coming into the game leading the country in field goal percentage. From three-point range, Virginia Tech made just 10-of-30.

After halftime, the Hokies seemed to have righted the ship with a 12-4 run. However, Syracuse continued to attack the basket going on a 17-3 run spanning over six minutes which effectively ended the game.

While the Orange attacked the paint at will, the Hokies seemed content tossing the ball around the perimeter and taking jumpshots. Over 57 percent of the Hokies’ shot attempts came from three point range, and given the inconsistencies over the last few games from downtown, it was a recipe for disaster.

Syracuse had a clear size advantage and it paid off. They had the edge in points in the paint (28-14) and rebounds (39-26). The Hokies also had 8 first half turnovers and finished the game with 12 giveaways.

Oshae Brisset gets the game ball for Syracuse. He gave the Hokies fits in the paint and was able to get to the charity stripe, where Brisset knocked down 9-of-10 free throws. He finished the game with 19 points and 9 boards. Matthew Moyer was also productive for the Orange, notching a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker was easily the best player on the floor for Virginia Tech. The freshman ended with 19 points, including 50 percent shooting from three point range. However, the stats seem hollow for the entire team with everyone playing at half-speed.

This result really hurts Virginia Tech; not only in the ACC standings, but also their tournament resume. This was a winnable game, but the Hokies failed to show up. They have a lot of ground to make up, especially since Tech laid an egg against Saint Louis.

No. 9 Virginia comes to visit Blacksburg on Wednesday in what is looking like an early “must-win” game. The Hokies have won each of the last two meetings in Blacksburg.


Happy New Year’s guys!