I have seen a lot of bonkers endings in my *cough* years of watching college lacrosse, but I'm not sure I've seen five endings better than what Syracuse-Duke was at PPL Park in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament. This isn't the ending that Syracuse had in the 2009 national championship game against Cornell -- that remains the most insane thing that I have ever witnessed, live or otherwise -- but Syracuse's last minute push against the Blue Devils was still the epitome of absolutely nonsense.
After putting their fingerprints over much of the game, Duke looked poised to advance to the conference tournament championship game after a Jordan Wolf goal with 3:15 left to play in regulation. The tally -- giving the Devils a 15-14 lead -- was the kind of effort that has thrust Wolf into the hyper-defined conversation about candidates for this season's Tewaaraton Trophy: With Duke needing a bucket to stem a four-goal run from Syracuse, Wolf answered the bell to give Duke a lead and also mitigate some of the momentum that the Orange had built. That goal, though, would ultimately prove to be only the foundation for a miraculous Syracuse comeback.
A Myles Jones turnover where Duke could salted the game away -- the turnover came with 1:37 remaining in regulation -- gave Syracuse the ball and a chance to tie. Out of a time without 48.7 left in the game, Kevin Rice -- a frequent hero for the Orange throughout the course of the season -- was unable to create anything on his own and dumped a difficult pass toward the crease that squirted to open space on left goal line extended. Randy Staats corralled the loose ball, moved to right goal line goal line extended and posted up Henry Lobb, a horse of a defenseman that has -- in his career -- made exquisite offensive weapons look meek. Staats held his position and, as is his disposition, delivered a pinpoint behind the back pass -- cool as Thelonious Monk in an extended improvisation -- to Billy Ward on the crease with Ward finishing in efficient form. The tally came with 14.7 seconds remaining in regulation, not unlike Syracuse's rally against North Carolina in the Carrier Dome. Unlike that game, though, the Orange would finish the game in regulation and secure the win.
Chris Daddio -- much maligned this season but on an uptick in recent games -- won the ensuing facing and moved the ball to Matt Harris, a long-stick midfielder. Harris threw the ball to Staats on the left wing and Staats, showing a patience that is often lost on players fresh to Division I play, calmly cradled the ball while precious time ticked off the clock. Staats then whipped a pass to Rice who quickly threaded the ball through two defenders to Dylan Donahue on the crease. Donahue then did what he does best: Finish. The goal came at the buzzer with less than a second remaining on the clock, giving Syracuse a huge win and Duke its first loss in nine games.
Syracuse scored two goals in under 15 seconds to get a win in a spot where the Orange looked overmatched for much of the game's play. This is why conference tournament season is amazing.
TRUNCATED ADVANCED BOX SCORE
|Raw Offensive Efficiency||50.00||35.71|
|Raw Offensive Shooting Rate||41.03%||34.88%|
|Shots per Offensive Opportunity||1.22||1.02|
|Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities||21.88||33.33|
|Run-of-Play Groundballs per 100 Possessions||25.68||32.43|
|Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities||30.95||37.50|
|Team Save Percentage||46.43%||42.86%|