Success from beyond the arc gives Syracuse win over Pitt

Success from beyond the arc gives Syracuse win over Pitt

The Orange shot 46 percent from deep.
Published: January 19, 2019
SU vs Pitt men's basketball.
Oshae Brissett goes for a basket against Pitt.

Following a thrilling overtime win over Duke on the road, questions remained about whether Syracuse would rest on their laurels or come out and attack a threatening Pittsburgh team in the Carrier Dome.

Those questions were answered by Tyus Battle and company Saturday afternoon with a 74-63 win.

Within the first 15 seconds of the game, the Orange already led the Panthers 3-0.

Following two Buddy Boeheim three-pointers toward the end of the first half, the Orange were looking good. After five straight points from Battle, things were looking even better for Syracuse (13-5, 4-1). Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim’s team led 26-15 with just four minutes left in the first half, but the margin wouldn’t last.

The Panthers (12-6, 2-3) went on a 10-2 run to round out the first half and found themselves trailing by only three points, 28-25, heading into the break. Pittsburgh freshman Xavier Johnson came up big down the stretch in the first half, scoring seven of the Panthers’ 10 points during the run. Johnson scored a team-high 17 points and tacked on seven rebounds, as well.

Pittsburgh continued that run into the second half, striking first to make the margin just one point in favor of the Orange. Then, the Orange pieced together a typical home court run fueled by a record number of fans (24,466) at any NCAA basketball game this year.

Two three-pointers from Frank Howard and Elijah Hughes made the score 34-27. After two more baskets from Battle and a rim-rattling dunk from Paschal Chukwu, Pittsburgh Head Coach Jeff Capel had seen enough.

The Orange had gone on a 12-0 run, and the Carrier Dome was rocking.

SU vs Pitt Basketball
Tyus Battle shoots a basket against Pitt. He finished the game with 22 points.

“I thought the difference in the second half was that our defense was good and we hit a couple of shots,” Boeheim said. “I think Tyus and Frank hit one and we got a little space.”

The Panthers came out of a timeout and ended the run with a Jared Wilson-Frame 3-pointer, but the Orange showed no signs of stopping. Battle went on an 8-0 run on his own at the mid-way point of the second half, and the Panthers needed another timeout. With just under ten minutes left and the Orange up 19 points, fans started to relax a bit. The Panthers surprised them all and went nothing but quiet.

The Orange’s largest lead got to 20, but that’s where Pittsburgh began to crawl back. The Panthers made a 10-0 run of their own which was complemented by excellent play from Johnson. The freshman played well during yet another key run for the Panthers.

The effort from Capel’s team was a bit too little, too late. The lead remained around 10 for Syracuse for the rest of the game, a period during which the Orange showed poise and basketball IQ facing the Pittsburgh full-court press.

Buddy Boeheim also had one of his best games of the year, shooting 4-5 from three-point land and finishing with a career-high 13 points. Jim Boeheim harped on how good of a week Buddy had leading up to today’s contest.

“He knows he can shoot,” said Boeheim. “He had probably the best few days of practice this week that he’s had all year.”

Buddy contributed to a great performance for the Orange from behind the arc. The team shot 46 percent from three — an incredibly effective rate.

“But it was a good solid win,” Boeheim said. “I told the players that every game in this league is going to be like this –there is nothing easy.  It’s going to be difficult every time you come to play, and this was a good win.”

Boeheim and the Orange now shift the focus to Miami at home on Thursday, Jan. 24. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.

Tyus Battle goes for a dunk vs. Pittsburgh
Tyus Battle goes for a dunk against Pitt.