Beekman's 3 helps No. 16 Virginia top Syracuse 72-69 in ACCs
By AARON BEARD AP Basketball Writer
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Reece Beekman hit a 3-pointer as time expired to help No. 16 Virginia edge Syracuse 72-69 in Thursday’s quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.
Beekman hadn’t hit a shot all day but buried a 3 from the right wing off a feed from Kihei Clark as the horn sounded. That sent Beekman sprinting immediately towards the other end of the court with his teammates pursuing him at full speed before finally gathering with him near the far baseline to celebrate.
That shot helped the top-seeded Cavaliers (18-6) grind out a win after trailing by 11 in the first half while struggling to slow Syracuse’s Buddy Boeheim.
Sam Hauser scored 21 points to lead Virginia, which made 4 of 5 3s to close the game in the final 5 1/2 minutes.
Boeheim finished with a career-high 31 points for the eighth-seeded Orange (16-9), a day after he scored 27 points in Syracuse’s tournament opener. He nearly lifted the Orange to another win to help their NCAA Tournament chances, scoring 11 of Syracuse’s last 13 points.
After Beekman’s shot fell, Boeheim stood near midcourt, hands on his knees in disbelief, while teammate Quincy Guerrier squatted down a few feet away.
Syracuse: The Orange entered the week near the cut line in most NCAA projections, though a win against fellow bubble team North Carolina State on Wednesday helped that case. Afterward, Boeheim said he thought the Orange “did what we needed to do this year” but with a wait-and-see caveat. Winning this one likely would have eliminated all doubt on that front.
Virginia: The Cavaliers had won the regular-season race by beating Louisville after No. 15 Florida State lost at Notre Dame on the final day of the schedule. That gave the Cavaliers the No. 1 seed for the fifth time in eight seasons as they pursued a third tournament title under Tony Bennett. Hauser was big in this one and Trey Murphy III (15 points) had a couple of big 3s late, though Beekman was the hero on this day.
Syracuse: The Orange await their NCAA Tournament fate on Selection Sunday.
Virginia: The Cavaliers advanced to Friday’s semifinals to face the Miami-Georgia Tech winner.
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