Syracuse on a Five Game Win Streak
Syracuse is back in the Top 25 for the first time since the week of November 12 after defeating Northeastern and Georgetown in the Carrier Dome last week.
The Orange faced Colonial Athletic Association favorite, Northeastern, Tuesday night. Syracuse jumped out to an early 10-2 lead, but the Huskies scored 10 unanswered points to take a 12-10 lead. This was the only lead Northeastern held over the Orange all night. Syracuse closed the half on a 9-0 run with baskets by freshman guards Jalen Carey and Buddy Boeheim to take a 30-23 advantage into intermission.
The Orange’s patented 2-3 zone stymied the Huskies in the second half. Northeastern shot 32.1-percent from the floor in the closing stanza, including 2-of-16 from beyond the arc, which allowed Syracuse to roll to a 72-47 win.
The Orange outrebounded the Huskies 43-29 and held a 19-8 edge in second chance points.
Tomas Murphy led Northeastern with 17 points, on 7-of-10 shooting, and eight rebounds.
Oshae Brissett posted a double-double with 21 points and 14 boards. Elijah Hughes scored 17 points, on 6-of-11 from the field and 3-of-8 from three. Boeheim chipped in with 11 points on 4-of-10 from the floor, including 3-of-7 from deep off the bench.
Frank Howard and Tyus Battle scored two points apiece on a combined 2-of-12 from the field and Syracuse still earned the win—a result that would have been unheard of last season.
The Orange hosted the Georgetown Hoyas in a matchup of old Big East rivals on Saturday afternoon in front of a raucous crowd of 24,082—the largest attendance in college basketball yet this season.
Patrick Ewing’s Hoyas jumped out to an early lead thanks to their impenetrable defense that forced Syracuse to miss 12 of their first 13 shots. Georgetown took a 35-22 lead into the break and held the Orange to 25-percent from the floor, including 1-of-14 from distance.
Syracuse came out of the locker room in the second half and played their best twenty minutes of basketball thus far in the 2018-19 campaign. The Orange went on a 14-4 run to pull within 39-36 on a layup by Battle with 16:05 left. The Hoyas responded with a 7-2 spurt to keep Syracuse’s comeback at bay for the time being. The Orange had an answer and took a 54-48 lead on a layup by Brissett with 9:52 remaining. Georgetown came back and tied the game at 60 on a free throw by Josh LeBlanc with 5:51 to go.
The teams traded baskets and Jessie Govan connected on a triple to give the Hoyas a 71-70 lead with 1:08 to play. Battle missed a jumper with 40 ticks on the clock and Jagan Mosely controlled the defensive board for the Hoyas. Syracuse coach, Jim Boeheim, made the gutsy decision not to foul and Marek Dolezaj drew a charge with 10.6 seconds left to give the Orange one last chance to beat Georgetown.
Enter Tyus Battle. As he has done so many times in his Syracuse career, the junior guard brought the ball up the court and put a dagger into the hearts of the Hoya faithful as he nailed a jumper with 2.5 seconds remaining on the clock, sending the Carrier Dome crowd into a frenzy. Jahvon Blair’s half-court heave clanged off the back iron and the Orange prevailed 72-71 in the latest installment of the storied rivalry.
Syracuse holds a 51-43 lead over Georgetown in the series. With the ACC schedule expanding to 20 games next season, it is uncertain as to whether or not the two schools will renew the rivalry in 2019-20, but both Boeheim and Ewing expressed their interest in continuing the rivalry moving forward.
The Orange’s comeback was fueled by an efficient offensive attack as Syracuse shot 60-percent from the field in the final 20 minutes and held the Hoyas to a 41.4-percent clip in the period. Georgetown outrebounded the Orange 45-34, but Syracuse forced the Hoyas into 15 turnovers.
Govan posted a double-double with 22 points, on 9-of-18 shooting and 2-of-3 from three point land, and 12 rebounds. He also dished out four assists.
Battle led the Orange with 26 points, on 8-of-18 from the floor, and five rebounds. Hughes added 15 points and six boards, while Brissett finished with 12 points and nine rebounds.
Player of the Week: Elijah Hughes
Despite Battle’s game-winner against Georgetown and Brissett’s double-double in the victory over Northeastern, this week’s player of the week for Syracuse was Elijah Hughes. The East Carolina transfer played a key role in both wins this week for the Orange and has been a consistent scorer in addition to the trio of Howard, Battle, and Brissett. His presence was clearly missed when he sat out his red-shirt season a year ago. This week, Hughes averaged 16 points and shot 11-of-24 from the field, including 7-of-18 from three point range and was the second leading scorer in support of Brissett and Battle in both triumphs last week. Hughes has looked more comfortable in the back of the zone as the season has evolved and recoded a steal and a block against the Huskies and the Hoyas. With Hughes as a key contributor on both ends of the floor, Syracuse should remain in the Top 25 over the course of the coming weeks.
Up Next: Old Dominion
The Orange will have a week to decompress from the hysteria of the huge win over Georgetown to take their finals and prepare for their next opponent, the Old Dominion Monarchs. Tip-off is set for noon on Saturday. Old Dominion enters the contest with a record of 7-3 and are coming off a 79-69 victory over Fairfield on Sunday. The Monarchs are led by Ahmad Caver who is averaging 18.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game.