Syracuse Uses Strong Second Half to Pull Away from Southern Connecticut State in Exhibition Finale
Syracuse needed a big run to start the second half to pull away from Southern Connecticut State at the Carrier Dome Monday night. Led by the veteran backcourt of Tyus Battle and Frank Howard, the Orange beat the Owls 84-59.
After a sluggish start in which the Owls scored the first 11 points, the Orange found themselves trailing Southern Connecticut State 27-12 late in the first half. Battle and Howard went on a 12-2 run on their own to pull the Orange to within five at the break.
In the second half, the rest of the Orange’s supporting cast came alive as the Orange rallied from behind to defeat the Owls. The difference for the Orange was that they simply shot the ball better in the second stanza. After shooting a dismal 8-for-31 in the twenty minutes, the Orange broke out of the funk and connected on 20-of-35 shots to close the game.
Tyus Battle led the way for the Orange, scoring 20 points in his second straight exhibition game He also grabbed 6 rebounds. His backcourt-mate Frank Howard added 19 points of his own. Freshman Oshae Brissett contributed 16 points as well.
Although the Orange only put three in double figures, the thing that excites me most about this team is its defensive potential. Boeheim has a lineup top-to-bottom that is equipped with length that will make it tough to shoot over and pass through the Orange’s patented 2-3 zone. Freshman Bourama Sidibe led the defense with 12 rebounds and 5 blocks to go along with his 8 points on the offensive end. Paschal Chukwu showed up to the block party as well, with 3 blocked shots of his own.
After two exhibitions, I am impressed with Tyus Battle’s consistency and the leadership he provides as the team’s lone returning starter. Oshae Brissett looks to be a talented stretch four that gives the Orange a versatile big man to replace Tyler Lydon. Bourama Sidibe continues to be a pleasant surprise and I hope he can continue to be force to be reckoned with as Syracuse opens its regular season slate. One question mark that remains is point guard play. Although Frank Howard was better tonight, he needs to continue to work to be ready to be a full-time ACC point guard once conference play rolls around.
Another positive was that USF transfer Geno Thorpe finally saw action in an Orange uniform tonight. Thorpe scored 6 points on 2-of-6 shooting, dished out 4 assists, and made 4 steals in his (unofficial) Orange debut.
The Syracuse Orange will officially begin their 2017-18 campaign at home against the Cornell Big Red Friday night at 7pm in the Carrier Dome.