No. 17 Syracuse buries N.C. State with 12 3s in 80-61 win to advance to ACC tournament semifinals

first_img Published on March 4, 2016 at 10:41 pm Contact Paul: [email protected] | @pschweds GREENSBORO, N.C. — The Syracuse bench sat still as head coach Quentin Hillsman waved his arms in a circular motion, signaling his offense to speed up.The Orange had just committed four turnovers and blown a six-point halftime lead. North Carolina State had just taken its first lead in more than 19 minutes, so Hillsman wanted to play at a pace to disrupt the Wolfpack’s momentum.Alexis Peterson nailed a 3 from the corner and three minutes into the third, Syracuse reclaimed a lead it wouldn’t lose again. The SU bench that was silent just moments before rose to its feet.Five 3s — two by Peterson and three by Taylor Ford — within a two-minute span flipped the game from a two-point deficit into a nine-point lead.“I just felt a big momentum swing,” Peterson said. “We talked about coming out with effort and energy and I think when we can hit five 3s in one quarter, it just helps our momentum … I think we’re all locked in at that point.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textOn the back of 12 3-pointers, No. 3 seed Syracuse (24-6, 13-3 Atlantic Coast) cruised to an 80-61 win over No. 6 seed N.C. State (20-11, 10-6) in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament on Friday night in the Greensboro Coliseum. Peterson, Ford and 3-point specialist Brianna Butler combined for 45 points as SU overcame the early third-quarter deficit by finishing 12-of-27 from behind the arc.With the win, the Orange improved to 9-0 in games when it hits 12 or more 3s and advanced to the semifinals, where it will face No. 2 seed Louisville (25-6, 15-1) on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.SU repeatedly found Brianna Butler open for 3 and she knocked down four long balls in the first quarter. Butler’s 12 points matched N.C. State’s through 10 minutes. The country’s leader in 3-point attempts went 5-of-6 in the first half, adding another right before halftime.“It was just taking shots that were open,” Butler said, “and my teammates were getting me open and setting good screens for me.”But after Butler’s surge, the Wolfpack switched to a box-and-one to contain her. While she drew double teams when curling around screens, N.C. State’s defenders sagged off Butler’s teammates, creating shots for SU. Related Stories Cornelia Fondren guides Syracuse to win down stretch against N.C. StateGallery: Syracuse advances to ACC tournament semifinals with win over N.C. StateTaylor Ford’s status uncertain heading into ACC tournament semifinal against No. 2 seed Louisville The result was Syracuse’s third-quarter barrage that changed the game for good as the Orange relied on the 3, its bread and butter all season.“It was an amazing adjustment,” Hillsman said, “and actually we just wanted to get the ball into a scorer’s hands and Taylor really came through big.”Ford, who left the game in the fourth after rolling her ankle, only scored in double digits twice during the regular season, including SU’s biggest win against then-No. 10 Florida State. Her boost of the bench added another element to Syracuse’s offense that it didn’t have in the first half.After Peterson’s back-to-back 3s, Ford continued the push. The extent of her celebration after each make grew as SU’s lead did too. First she clapped once and got back on defense. Then she held three fingers in the air. Lastly, she jammed them into the side of her head three times with Syracuse leading, 50-41.Hillsman’s goal for each game is for his team to hit 10 3-pointers. Within five possessions, SU got halfway to that mark and put a stamp on a game that was in doubt just moments before.“We knew we had to step up and hit some big shots,” Peterson said, “and I think we got it done.” Commentscenter_img Evan Jenkins | Staff Photographer Facebook Twitter Google+last_img