Chukwu and Howard have career-highs as the Orange beat Oakland
The Orange beat Oakland
Two Syracuse players had career-highs in points as the Orange defeated Oakland 74-50 Monday night.
In the second game of the Hoophall Miami Invitational, Syracuse’s offensive distribution and defensive structure was the difference, as the team shot 48.4 percent and had 12 steals.
“Our defense was good the whole game,” Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim said.
The game started off with the Orange sharing the scoring, as four of the five starters grabbed early baskets. Junior center Paschal Chukwu, who has struggled to score this season, grabbed an early offensive rebound off the glass and placed the ball in the net. This theme continued as the game carried on.
Sophomore guard Tyus Battle maintained his offensive dominance, hitting six of his first eight shots for 15 points, including a 3-pointer and both of his free throws. In a change from last game when he picked up early fouls, he finished the first half with only one foul. The defense performance was a positive for Battle, echoing his Coach’s remarks.
“I think our defense is getting better every game,” Battle said.
The other starting guard, Frank Howard, became more productive offensively in the second half, grabbing
Syracuse also found success during a fast break play. Following a rebound by freshman forward Marek Dolezaj, he found Howard filling the lane to his left. His drive drew a foul, but as the referee’s whistles blew, his shot found the basket. Howard finished the game with 18 points and six assists.
Dolezaj continued to demonstrate his defensive prowess early on, blocking Oakland guard James Beck. He finished the game without any points, but his ten rebounds and three blocks hold steady with is performances so far this year.
Freshman forward Oshae Brissett scored double-digits for the third time this season and finished with 11 points and nine rebounds. One of his rebounds led to a fast break opportunity, where he found Dolezaj. Dolezaj gave the ball back in stride, and Brissett dunked the ball home.
Chukwu was more productive offensively, setting high screens for Howard and drawing players away from the glass. He opened the second half with three blocks, and while he missed two free throws, he made up for it in the next possession with an offensive rebound and slam dunk.
“If we could do that every play we would,” Chukwu said about the alley-oop.
And as Chukwu reached his career-high 10th point, he did it in style. Driving left to the basket off-ball, Howard’s pass was just above the rim so the center could slam it home. Chukwu would get two more points during the game.
The fifth starter, Matthew Moyer, struggled against the Golden Grizzlies. He finished the game with two points, but was at fault for at least two turnovers, resulting in him being taken out of the game.
Another negative was the Orange from the line. Syracuse hit 10 out of 20 shots from the free-throw line, lower than their average 65.7 percent.
“We missed a lot of layups and we missed a lot of free throws. We can’t do that,” Boeheim said.
Syracuse’s next game is Nov. 22 at 7 p.m., when the Orange host University of Toledo. This is the final game of the Hoophall Miami Invitational before Syracuse plays Kansas in Miami on Dec. 2.