No. 25 Syracuse drops 57-55 see-saw battle to No. 4 Tennessee

first_img Published on November 20, 2015 at 11:09 pm Contact Connor: [email protected] | @connorgrossman Facebook Twitter Google+ Syracuse pushed Tennessee to the brink. In her second game playing on a twice-repaired right ACL, Brittney Sykes was standing on the foul line with two shots to dissolve a 57-55 deficit with six seconds left.She lofted her first shot and clanked it off the rim. Sykes turned away and shook her head.Needing to miss the second shot and hope for an Orange rebound, Sykes’ attempt ricocheted toward the SU sideline. The Volunteers smothered it to cement its victory, turning the Orange away at the glass yet again.“Rebounding and points in the paint, playing at the rim is all about toughness,” head coach Quentin Hillsman said. “We gotta be tougher around the rim.”No. 4 Tennessee (3-0) escaped with a 57-55 win over No. 25 Syracuse (1-1), with neither team’s lead growing larger than seven points throughout the 40-minute affair.  Three times the Orange erased that deficit, including a 7-0 run with five minutes left in the fourth quarter to tie the score at 55.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut Syracuse was never able to escape the grasp of the Vols, shooting 25 percent from the field in the second half and failing to net a shot after Abby Grant tied the game with 5:12 remaining in the game.“We were just missing shots. They played some very good defense on us,” Hillsman said. “We just didn’t knock (shots) down.”The Orange was shutout in the opening five minutes of the game, but a Sykes layup kick-started SU’s effort to make up a seven-point deficit. It spurred a 17-9 Syracuse run to exit the first quarter ahead by one.The Vols’ defense promptly responded, forcing two Cornelia Fondren fumbles and corralling an errant Briana Day pass in the opening 90 seconds of the second quarter. Syracuse failed to reset its offense, and Tennessee forward Bashaara Graves stole the ball at midcourt and coasted to the basket to put the Vols up, 22-17.Tennessee got four consecutive defensive stops, and a 6-0 run washed away Syracuse’s comeback efforts.Alexis Peterson lifted the Orange in its second big comeback, netting seven points en route to her game-high total of 19 to send the game to halftime tied at 31.The two teams exchanged blows in the third quarter, with the Orange leading by as many as five before Tennessee went on an 11-0 run at the end of the quarter to put the Vols up, 48-44.Syracuse never led in the fourth quarter, its offense completely stalling in the last five minutes. Peterson tried to revive the Orange with two minutes left, taking a charge from the 6-foot-2 Graves to give SU the ball down two.She stood up off the ground screaming, waving her arms and clenching her fists. It was the only positive blip for Syracuse in the game’s final stretch.The Orange ran out of comebacks, and skidded to the final buzzer on an 0-for-8 shooting stretch.“We got wide open looks,” Hillsman said. “… Tennessee made the couple plays late to win the game. We just came up a bit short.” Commentslast_img

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