SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Andrew White picked the perfect moment to emerge from a late-season swoon — Senior Day.
The graduate transfer, who began his career at Kansas and also played at Nebraska before opting to spend his final college season at Syracuse, scored a career-high 40 points on Saturday to lead the Orange to a 90-61 victory over Georgia Tech.
After shooting 4 of 14 overall and 2 of 10 from beyond the arc as the Orange split the previous two games, against Duke and Louisville, White torched the Yellow Jackets with a career-high eight 3s, missing only once from beyond the arc in the most important game of his career.
"It's fitting to play well for my last regular-season game of my college career," White said. "Four years ago I didn't know where I'd end up, so to end on this note. ... I'm just really humbled just to be in this position. This is the kind of opportunity that I've been wanting my whole life."
NCAA bubble watch: Could Syracuse, Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech get in with 15 losses?https://t.co/20lE8Xadrr
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) March 2, 2017
Syracuse (18-13, 10-8 Atlantic Coast Conference) had lost four of five since reeling off five straight victories to resurrect its season, one of those setbacks 71-65 two weeks ago at Georgia Tech.
With a season-high crowd of 30,448 screaming at every possession, White made sure the big game went the Orange's way. He hit four 3s in a span of less than four minutes in the second half to give Syracuse a double-digit lead almost all by himself after the Yellow Jackets had pulled to within three. His seventh 3 boosted the lead to 63-46 with 8:40 left, and when he attempted another 27 seconds later he was fouled and calmly hit all three free throws for a 19-point edge.
"That was one of the best shooting performances that I've seen," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "He just made everything."
The regular-season finale was a huge game for both teams, and the Orange avenged that loss to the Yellow Jackets two weeks ago to pad its resume for the postseason.
Georgia Tech (17-14, 8-10) had split its last six games and was coming off a 61-52 win over Pittsburgh. The Yellow Jackets also defeated North Carolina, Notre Dame and Florida State for a resume very similar to Syracuse, which has four wins over ranked teams.
The Orange finished 15 of 23 (65.2 percent) from beyond the arc against the fifth-most efficient defense in the country and tops in the ACC in field-goal percentage defense (40 percent).
Freshman Tyus Battle had 22 points for the Orange, one off his season high, and John Gillon finished with 10.
— syracuse.com (@syracusedotcom) March 5, 2017
Josh Okogie led Georgia Tech with 16 points, Quinton Stephens had 12, Tadric Jackson 11 and Ben Lammers 10.
In the first five minutes of the game, Syracuse was 6 of 7, including four straight 3-pointers, to gain a 16-4 lead. Battle had three 3s and Taurean Thompson added just his third of the season to cap the opening spurt.
"They were just tremendous," Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner said. "Tyus Battle, his start ... gave them momentum and kind of got them going. That set the tone."
The Yellow Jackets pulled to within 18-11 on a 3 from the left corner by Jackson but never managed to get closer the rest of the half.
Syracuse took a 38-26 lead into the halftime break, but Georgia Tech responded with a nine-point spurt to start the second period. Stephens hit a 3 from the wing and a reverse layup by Okogie narrowed the gap to 38-35 with 17:38 left.
That's when White began to assume control, hitting a 3 from the left corner 25 seconds later.
"He had a few slow games in a row and I noticed that people were forgetting how good of a shooter he is," Gillon said. "You can't leave him. He's the most consistent I've ever played with, no doubt."
Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets could have bolstered their postseason chances and dealt the Orange a severe blow with a win. A good showing in the ACC Tournament next week is a must. ... Could have finished at .500 in the conference for the first time in a decade. ... Tech upset No. 7 Syracuse 67-62 in the Carrier Dome three years ago to the day.
Syracuse: White matched the team record for points in the Carrier Dome set by Gene Waldron in 1983 against Iona.... Gillon made his 48th straight free throw to tie Virginia's Jeff Lamp for the third-longest streak in ACC history before missing his next one. ... Tyler Lydon, the Orange's second-leading scorer, attempted only one shot in the first half and made it. He finished with seven points and 13 rebounds. ... Syracuse was 10 of 13 from beyond the arc in the second half.
Georgia Tech: Plays at the ACC Tournament in Brooklyn. The Yellow Jackets are the 11th seed with a Tuesday game against Pittsburgh.
Syracuse: Plays at the ACC Tournament in Brooklyn. The Orange, the eighth seed, clinched a first-round bye and will play Miami on Wednesday at the Barclays Center.
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