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ACC Roundup - UNC Wins A Close One Over Syracuse

An agonizing near miss for Syracuse

Syracuse v North Carolina
CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 28: Cole Swider #21 of the Syracuse Orange reacts after being called for a turnover during the second half of their game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at the Dean E. Smith Center on February 28, 2022 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The Tar Heels won 88-79 in overtime.
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

We had one part of the UNC-Syracuse game pegged: we thought that the shooters - Jim Boeheim, Joe Girard and Cole Swider - who were shut down by Duke would probably be pretty ready to prove a point in Chapel Hill, and man was Cole Swider ready.

He came within a basket of breaking the Smith Center record for most points by a visiting player (37) set by Lionel Simmons in 1990.

Moreover, he played every minute until he fouled out. The guy shot 14-21 and 7-11 from three point range.

This is why we’ve said that Syracuse could always shoot its way into a win this season.

Trouble was, no one else was very helpful. Jimmy Boeheim was 4-12. Brother Buddy was 5-13. Joe Girard was 4-12. And Benny Williams, who so impressed against Duke off the bench, only attempted one shot in eight minutes.

Even so, Swider kept them in range and Syracuse had chances to win in regulation. Joe Girard made a turnover with :16 left and then Caleb Love hit a three. Girard tied it back up with a jumper with :02 left.

And we’ve said this before but keep an eye on it: Caleb Love can do some terrible stuff during a game. He can really take some awful shots and throw the ball in the third row. But that guy has a real clutch instinct, which we saw again Monday night.

After the game, Armando Bacot said this about his erratic teammate: “I guess we’re going to live and die with it, and tonight we lived.”

Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but Love has emerged as one of the ACC’s better clutch players. His judgment has to be lived with, as Bacot said, but his instinct for winning is really good. That could come in handy in Brooklyn.

Only one game on tap for Tuesday as Louisville and Virginia Tech square off in Blacksburg. We can’t think of an argument for Louisville at this point and it’s Senior Day so emotion should be high for the Hokies. Plus Louisville is 1-9 in the last 10 games. They might pull it together long enough to win one last game, but after this they play Virginia at Charlottesville and that won’t be easy either. No matter how you look at it, the season is almost certainly winding down for the Cards. There’s no easy way out.

Tuesday’s ACC Action

Louisville @ Virginia Tech || 9:00 || ESPN2

ACC Standings