Syracuse looked out of sorts from the beginning and Houston was able to solve the zone enough to advance in the NCAA Tournament. The Cougars topped the Orange 62-46 Saturday night, ending Syracuse's season in the Sweet-16 of the NCAA Tournament.
The Syracuse offense was stifled by Houston's defense, and even when there were open shots, Syracuse could not hit them. Buddy Boeheim led Syracuse in scoring with 12 points, but was just 3-12 shooting including 1-8 from beyond the arc. Syracuse had its worst shooting game of the season, making only 28% of its shots. The only other Orange player in double figures was Joe Girard with 12.
Defensively, Syracuse had a solid night, holding Houston to 38.3% shooting and under 27% from beyond the arc. But the offense could not muster enough to pull out a victory against a very talented and physical Houston squad. Quentin Grimes led all scorers with 14 points on 5-15 shooting.
Houston jumped out to an early 12 point lead. Syracuse inserted Kadary Richmond and Jesse Edwards into the game, and the zone helped lead an Orange charge to tie things at 20 late in the first half. Houston, however, responded with a 10-0 run to end the half.
In the second, Syracuse tried to get back into the game, and trimmed the lead to four at one point after Richmond hit a corner three. But every time Syracuse would start to gain some momentum, Houston would make a play. The Cougars were simply better on this night.
Syracuse ends the 2020-21 season at 18-10, but went on one heck of a run down the stretch of the year to make it to the Sweet-16.