After back-and-forth contest, Battle scores late jumper for one point win over Georgetown
Battle scores late jumper for one point win over Georgetown
The Orange were down 71-70 with 11 seconds remaining after a Syracuse timeout, when Battle took the last shot with three seconds left and lifted his team over the Hoyas.
Syracuse struggled to find momentum in the first half leading to a slow offensive start. Syracuse’s leading scorers Battle and Oshae Brissett combined for a mere total of 10 points in the first half. The team’s first half 7-of-28 shots contributed to only 22 points heading into halftime.
Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim was not happy with his team’s first half efforts.
“I thought that in the first half, Georgetown was more physical,” Boeheim said. “They got up in us, and we ended up shooting difficult threes. Our offense just was not there, and we let a couple of guys shoot that we know can shoot and our defense was not what it needed to be.”
Boeheim challenged Battle and the rest of the team at halftime to take control of the game, and the Orange did just that.
Opening the second half, the Hoyas stuck first with a jump shot, but Syracuse dominated the rest of the game with a 14-2 run in nearly three minutes, including 10 points from Battle closing in on the lead with a 39-36 score.
The Orange led for the first time since their first half 5-3 lead with a three from junior Elijah Hughes. The 6’6” junior was the second leading scorer for Syracuse with 15 points and six rebounds, all coming from the defensive end. Hughes finished the game with two assists, a block and a steal.
Hughes credits the crowd of 24,082 fans, the largest crowd this season, and confidence of his teammates to the shift in momentum during the second half.
“We just saw a couple go in, and once you see that it’s that much easier,” Hughes said. “Then the crowd got behind us, and our confidence grew, so it’s that much easier.”
The last minute and a half of the game was a back-and-forth effort from both teams. Battle hit a three and the Hoyas quickly responded with a long-range jumper of their own.
Battle missed his next opportunity to score, and the ball was on the other end with the Hoyas attempting a layup before Marek Dolezaj drew a charge with 11 seconds left. The big-time defensive play set up Battle for his last second game-winning jump shot placing the Orange above the Hoyas 72-71 with 2.5 seconds remaining in the game.
The last look for the Orange was meant for Hughes, but Battle pushed the ball down the court and drowned it in the net sealing the deal for Syracuse. Hughes and the rest of the team trusted Battle’s last second decisions.
“I was trying to make something happen,” Hughes said. “When he got it, I went to go for a tip. When he has the ball in his hands like that, I’m comfortable. I’ve seen him make plays like that all summer, that’s the type of guy he’s always been.”
Battle has been in these last-second opportunities before and isn’t fazed by them.
“Honestly, I just was playing, I don’t really think too much,” Battle said. “I was trying to get an open look and I happened to get one. It felt good when I let it go.”
Battle finished the game with 26 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Brissett was another Syracuse standout scoring 12 points and 9 rebounds, narrowly missing a double-double.
Syracuse is back in the Dome on Dec. 15 against Old Dominion. Tip-off is scheduled for noon.