SYRACUSE, NY (AP) – Freshman Jalen Cone scored a career-high 19 points and Virginia Tech went on a 21-4 run midway through the second half to defeat Syracuse 67-63 on Tuesday night.
Cone, who averaged 5.6 points entering the game, hit four 3s and scored 16 of his points in the second half when the Hokies took control.
The Orange (8-7, 1/3 Atlantic Coast Conference) took a 40-31 lead on a lay-in by Elijah Hughes with 12:11 to go when the Hokies (11-4, 2-2 ACC) surged. Cone scored on a 4-point play, P.J. Horne hit a baseline jumper and Cone hit another 3 to close the gap to 42-40 with under 11 minutes to go. A slam by Landers Nolley tied the game at 42. The Orange took a brief lead on two foul shots by Joe Girard, but a corner 3 and foul shot by Cone gave the Hokies a 46-44 lead and Virginia Tech led the rest of the way. Quincy Guerrier scored on a putback with 23.9 to go to make it 64-61 but missed a foul shot. Two foul shots by Nolley made it 66-61. A dunk by Guerrier brought the Orange to 66-63 but that’s the closest the Orange would come.
Syracuse shot just 11 for 30 in the second half, including 2 of 10 from 3.
Nolley scored 13 and P.J. Horne chipped in with 12 for the Hokies. Nolley, who averages 17.9 points a game and shoots 47 percent from 3, was just 1-for-11 from beyond the arc.
Hughes led the Orange with 18 points. Girard and Guerrier each scored 12 and Buddy Boeheim added 10.
The loss marked the third straight home conference loss for Syracuse, the first time that’s happened since the 1996-97 season when the Orange failed to qualify for the NCAA Tournament.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies showed resolve and demonstrated they can win without shooting lights out from 3.
Syracuse: The Orange is in deep trouble and faces the real prospect of its first losing season under coach Jim Boeheim.
Virginia Tech returns home Saturday for a matchup against North Carolina State.
The Orange have a tough rematch at Virginia on Saturday. The Cavaliers held the Orange to 34 points in the season opener for both teams on Nov. 6.