Orange pull away from Pittsburgh, grab crucial home ACC win
Men's basketball beat Pitt for second ACC win of season
Syracuse men’s basketball grabbed a much needed ACC win on Tuesday, pulling away from the Pittsburgh Panthers to win 59-45.
The Orange (13-5, 2-4 ACC) were riding a four-game losing streak, having lost four days ago in a double overtime game against Florida State. After making his opening three point shot, junior guard Frank Howard took control of the team.
“Frank made a few big shots,” Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim said following the game. Howard led the team in points, assists and steals.
The visiting Panthers (8-11, 0-6 ACC) were desperately looking for their first ACC win of the season. The Panthers offense struggled at times, but found success with freshman guard Parker Stewart’s outside shot. Stewart proved to be a thorn in the side of Syracuse’s 2-3 zone, hitting seven three-point shots. His 23 points totaled more than half of his team’s final score.
Boeheim addressed this after the game, saying that leaders Howard and sophomore guard Tyus Battle needed to recognize Stewart’s hot streak from beyond the perimeter.
“Our best players have got to know which guys are making shots,” Boeheim said.
Pittsburgh had a 2-3 zone of their own, which Syracuse saw some success in penetrating. Freshman forward Marek Dolezaj was able to get in the middle of the zone and provide his teammates with better opportunities. While he only played one minute in the first half, his minutes increased in the second half as his performance improved.
Another Orange player who saw increased minutes was freshman guard Howard Washington. Washington stepped up and was a nuisance for the Pittsburgh offense. On his first possession, he grabbed a steal and found freshman forward Matthew Moyer under the hoop.
Both teams struggled to gain momentum, often times finding themeslves on scoring droughts lasting a few minutes. However, Syracuse went on a 14-2 run over seven minutes to grow the lead.
Battle did not score for the Orange for over 18 minutes. He leads the ACC with most minutes played per game, averaging over 38 minutes, and played 50 minutes against Florida State three days before this game. However, Battle added four points late in the first half and carried that momentum into the second half.
The time between games is something of note for both Boeheim and the players. With eight days before the next game, the Orange will have six practices and two days off. This time will be used to improve offensive production and keep everyone involved.
“We are in the toughest conference. There are no easy games,” Boeheim said.
Oshae Brissett echoed his coach’s thoughts, saying that in times like this they’ll look towards the older players for guidance.
Brissett, the freshman forward, finished with 10 points, including finishing 2-3 from beyond the arc.
Syracuse’s next game is against Boston College (13-6, 3-3 ACC) on Jan. 24 in the Carrier Dome.