Syracuse Takes Down Toledo
Syracuse defeated Toledo 72-64 Wednesday night to improve to 5-0 on the season. After leading the entire first half, Toledo’s Jaelen Stanford hit a 3 to cut the Orange’s lead to 33-32 at the break. The Rockets’ Nate Navigato put Toledo ahead 35-33 early in the second stanza. Syracuse took the lead for good behind a 3-point-play from red-shirt freshman Matthew Moyer.
Tyus Battle went to challenge a shot with 15:44 left in the game and came down awkwardly on his tail bone. After hobbling around on the court for a few minutes after sustaining the injury, Battle was pulled from the game and did not return. The Orange will hope to have him back for Monday’s game against Maryland.
Defensively, the Orange were solid once again as they held Toledo to just 33.3% shooting for the game and limited the Rockets to just 24.1% shooting in the second half. Syracuse blocked 6 shots and grabbed 6 steals as well.
Offensively, Syracuse was led by Frank Howard who had a career night. Howard scored a career high 25 points, grabbed a career high 6 rebounds, and dished out 4 assists. With Battle out, the freshman stepped up big in his absence. In addition to Howard, Oshae Brissett and Matthew Moyer both had career nights as well. Brissett turned in career highs in points a rebounds going for 17 points and 14 rebounds, while Moyer added a career high in points with 11 and corralled 7 rebounds. Tyus Battle poured in 8 points before he left with the back injury.
Let’s take a moment to discuss where Syracuse stands after their first five game and before the schedule gets tougher through the next three against Maryland, #3 Kansas, and Connecticut. Obviously, Orange Nation will be holding their breath until we receive any news regarding the severity of Battle’s injury, but prior to tonight, he was clearly playing like one of the top guards in the ACC. The point guard play of Frank Howard was Syracuse’s greatest question mark coming into the year. Although he is yet to be tested, Howard has improved steadily over the first five games. He is commanding the offense, gets the playmakers involved, and looked for his own shot. In addition to having a career night tonight, he also did not commit a turnover. The four freshman, Brissett, Moyer, Bourama Sidibe, and Marek Dolezaj have all proven that they can provide good minutes and Paschal Chukwu looks stronger and better defensively than he did a year ago, before he missed the rest of the season due to injury.
So, Happy Thanksgiving Orange Nation! Be thankful for the 5-0 start, pray for good news for Tyus Battle, and stay hungry for what the rest of the season has in store.
The Syracuse Orange return to action Monday, November 27 for a 7pm tip against the Maryland Terrapins inside the Carrier Dome. The game is part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.