Hughes threes, blocked shots key in Orange victory over Miami

Hughes threes, blocked shots key in Orange victory over Miami

Elijah Hughes scored a game-high 22 points and hit six of his nine three-point attempts.
Published: January 24, 2019
Syracuse vs Miami
Elijah Hughes shoots over Miami's Chris Lykes. Hughes finished with a game-high 22 points.

A tough Miami defense couldn’t hold off Syracuse after the Orange shot a 50 percent game to take down the Hurricanes, 73-53.

“They were playing back in a zone, you’ve got to make some shots,” Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim said. “It’s as simple as that: you play against zones, you want to make some of those shots.”

Miami (9-9, 1-5) took a six-point lead in the middle of the first half, but Syracuse (14-5, 5-1) went on a 23-14 run to finish the half with a 32-29 lead over the Hurricanes. A team-high 22 points from Elijah Hughes, including six from deep, really helped the Orange offense get into a smooth rhythm. Overall, the Orange knocked down 14 threes — including three from Buddy Boeheim that helped Syracuse regain the lead after a hot Miami team sunk some big shots. Frank Howard also had three of his own.

“Everyone’s just getting their work in on shots — before practice, after practice — in between classes, we’re getting shots up so it’s all paying off,” Hughes said after the game.

Hughes discusses big blocks the Orange had against the Hurricanes.

An aggressive Syracuse defense forced 13 turnovers from Miami and definitely gave the Orange the confidence they needed to finish the game strong. Syracuse had a weak rebound game, only pulling down 28 compared to Miami’s 39, but 11 strong blocks and seven steals certainly helped the defense keep up the good work.

The 21,058 fans in the Carrier Dome definitely helped the Orange keep up their energy, as well. Each time a Cuse player hit a three, blocked a shot or really did anything noteworthy, the crowd erupted in applause and cheers that visibly gave the players a rush of adrenaline.

Paschal Chukwu blocked five of the team’s 11 shots and pulled down four rebounds. Since the Orange’s game against Duke, we’ve seen a different Chukwu. He’s not the fastest on the team and he may not score a huge amount of points, but he makes his playing time count for the most part. He pulled down some key boards and hit Miami where it hurt with his defense.

“The difference in the game is Paschal played in the second half,” Jim Boeheim said. “He forgot to be there in the first half, but the second half he’s active. When he plays like that, we’re a different team. He’s blocking shots, rebounding, changing shots. And we found him for a couple buckets inside too.”

Miami’s usual top-scorer Chris Lykes, who normally puts up 18.1 points each game, was limited to only eight points after the Syracuse defense was trapping the ball and making sure Miami wasn’t hitting the shots they needed to stay in the game.

 

Similarly, Tyus Battle only dropped 10 points with his first bucket not coming until the second half. Battle, who averages 17.8 points per game, dished out a career-high nine assists to really get the Orange some good looks offensively. The team finished with a season-high 22 assists, which shows the cohesiveness of tonight’s Syracuse team. They also had a season-low six turnovers. If they can continue to play like this, especially against a tough opponent like upcoming No. 10 Virginia Tech — the currently unranked team can really make an impact in the ACC.

Syracuse will head to Blacksburg, Virginia to face Virginia Tech on Saturday at 8 p.m.

Alternative Text
Tyus Battle shoots over Chris Lykes.
Avatar for Dakota Palmer

is a lead sports producer for The NewsHouse.

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Avatar for Dakota Palmer

is a freshman from Chapel Hill, N.C., studying at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.