Gonzaga got off to a quick start offensively, hitting its first three shots (all coming on Matt Bouldin passes), but the Bulldogs paid for a 4:20 offensive dry spell midway through the half and during a big spurt by Syracuse in the closing 4 minutes.
The result: GU is down 47-32 at the break at HSBC Arena.
GU led by four early and then by five, 13-8, after Steven Gray’s 3-pointer from the corner, but the Orange caught up with jumpers and several offensive rebounds that led to key baskets. Rick Jackson’s putback gave Syracuse the lead for good, 17-15.
GU trailed 22-21 when it went scoreless for 4-plus minutes. The Orange capitalized with nine unanswered points, capped by Wes Johnson’s step-back jumper to extend Syracuse’s lead to 31-22. GU fought back within 32-28 when Elias Harris, who had a big half with 16 points, connected on a pair of free throws with 3:59 left.
Syracuse closed the half on a 15-4 run. Kelly Olynyk’s tip-in just before the buzzer left Gonzaga behind 47-32.
The Zags had success getting the ball inside and also had open looks on the perimeter, but they failed to hit most of their shots from distance. GU made 13 of 29 shots, just 2 of 11 from the 3-point line. Bouldin didn’t score and missed all three of his 3-point attempts.
Syracuse hit 17 of 28, 7 of 14 from distance. Johnson had three 3s and scored a team-high 15 points and Brandon Triche added 13 points.
More at the buzzer.