SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Buddy Boeheim scored 21 points, Marek Dolezaj added 17, and Syracuse held off Pittsburgh 69-61 on Saturday.
Syracuse (13-7, 6-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) has won five straight as it tries to rebound from a lackluster start to the season and build a resume for postseason consideration.
Pittsburgh (13-7, 4-5) was coming off home wins over North Carolina and Boston College but now has lost six straight to the Orange.
Elijah Hughes, the ACC’s leading scorer, had just 10 points to match his season low, all coming in the second half. Quincy Guerrier had 10 points and eight rebounds and Dolezaj had seven boards.
Justin Champagnie led Pitt with 14 points and Terrell Brown had 11. Leading scorer Trey McGowens had seven points.
Pitt fell behind early by double digits and never closed within striking distance until late. After Guerrier scored five straight points for the Orange for a 49-35 lead midway through the second half, Ryan Murphy hit a 3, his first after five misses from long range, McGowens hit another 3, and a layup by Champagnie closed the gap to 56-47 with 6:02 left as the Panthers outscored Syracuse 14-3 in a five-minute surge.
A 3-pointer from the top of the key by Murphy and a foul-line jumper by Brown narrowed the gap to 59-56 with 2:43 left, but Hughes converted a drive through the lane and Dolezaj put back a miss by Hughes with 1:43 to go to keep the Panthers at bay.
Pitt missed 10 of its first 11 shots as the Syracuse defense swarmed, blocking five shots, three by Hughes. The Orange, who converted three three-point plays in the first half, used a 15-2 run to create some separation. Three-point plays by Dolezaj and Guerrier in less than a minute staked the Orange to a 20-7 lead just past the midpoint of the period and a putback by Bourama Sidibe boosted the margin to 30-10 with 4:59 left.
The Panthers, who were 6-of-26 shooting (23.1%) responded with an 11-0 spurt to get back in it. Au’Diese Toney and Xavier Johnson each hit 3-pointers to key the run and two free throws by Toney cut the margin to single digits in the final minute before Joe Girard III hit a layup for the Orange to give them a 32-21 halftime lead despite zero points from Hughes, who missed all five of his shots.
Boeheim scored 18 points in the first half, going 6 of 11 from the floor, including three 3-pointers. He also had 18 straight points in the first half in a win at Virginia Tech a week ago.
Pittsburgh: The Panthers entered the game allowing 61.7 points per game, the second-best figure in the ACC, and are 2-3 on the road, matching their win total on the road in the three previous seasons combined. Pitt still has a chance to boost its resume with road games against Duke and Florida State and home contests against Virginia and Syracuse, but it’s an uphill climb.
Syracuse: The Orange have an ace in Hughes, whose steady contributions have been as impressive as it gets. Hughes entered the game averaging 19.7 and his season low was 10 points against Iowa in December. In every other game he had scored at least 14 points and in the previous eight his totals were: 18, 19, 19, 18, 18, 19, 17, 26. He also contributed 34 assists and 48 rebounds in those games and has 20 steals and 18 blocks on the season.
Pittsburgh: Panthers play at No. 8 Duke on Tuesday night.
Syracuse: Orange play at Clemson on Tuesday night.
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