Syracuse Splits a Pair Ahead of Christmas Break
After being upset by Old Dominion, the Syracuse Orange looked to bounce back with home games against #14 Buffalo and Arkansas State.
Syracuse raced out to a 36-32 halftime advantage over Buffalo. The Bulls were not ready to relinquish their undefeated record and came back to take a 50-48 lead on a three by Jeremy Harris with 9:48 remaining. Jalen Carey responded with a layup to knot the score at 50. CJ Massinburg drained a triple and Tyus Battle connected on a trey of his own to bring the contest to a 53-53 stalemate with 8:12 left to play. Buffalo pulled away with a 14-4 run and went on to win 71-59, extending the Orange’s losing streak to two games.
Syracuse held the Bulls to 37.1-percent shooting and shot 42.1-percent themselves. It was a sloppy game as both teams turned the ball over 16 times. The difference in the game was that Buffalo drained 10 three-pointers, compared to just six for the Orange. The Bulls were 15-of-20 from the charity stripe, while the Orange converted on just 5-of-13 of their free throw attempts. For a team that struggles to score, shooting an ACC-worst of 69-percent from the stripe is a statistic that Syracuse must improve going forward.
Massinburg led Buffalo with 25 points, on 8-of-16 from the field, including 4-of-8 from beyond the arc, eight rebounds, and five assists.
Elijah Hughes led the Orange with 16 points and four rebounds. Frank Howard added a season-high 13 points on 5-of-13 from the floor, including 3-of-5 from three point land, and four rebounds. Battle tallied 11 points, while Oshae Brissett posted a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Brissett also dished out four assists in the losing effort.
Syracuse looked to get back on the right track when they hosted Arkansas State on Saturday afternoon. The Orange looked as though they had lost all confidence and the Red Wolves came out firing on all cylinders. Arkansas State took an 11-point lead (26-15) thanks to a pair of free throws by JJ Matthews with 9:32 to go in the opening stanza. Syracuse used a 20-7 spurt to take a 38-36 lead into the break. The Orange went on a 15-3 run out of intermission to distance themselves from the Red Wolves for good. Syracuse went on to score a much needed 82-52 victory.
The Orange shot 47.1-percent from the field and held Arkansas State to a 34.6-percent clip. Syracuse outrebounded the Red Wolves 37-30. The Orange forced 17 turnovers and only gave it up eight times. Syracuse connected on 27-of-33 of their attempts from the free throw line—a trend that needs to continue to improve moving forward.
Ty Cockfield led Arkansas State with 17 points, on 5-of-14 shooting, including 4-of-10 from deep, three rebounds, and five assists.
Hughes and Battle poured in 17 points apiece to pace the Orange. Hughes grabbed six rebounds and distributed three assists. Brissett finished with 15 points, on 5-of-10 from the field, and nine boards.
Marek Dolezaj earned the start over Paschal Chukwu who had struggled to rebound in the center of the zone in losses to Old Dominion and Buffalo. Chukwu responded and scored four points and corralled 13 rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench in the win over the Red Wolves.
Syracuse was without freshman guard Jalen Carey against Arkansas State as he was out nursing a hip-pointer. Buddy Boeheim stepped up with eight points in 18 minutes off the bench in Carey’s absence.
Player of the Week: Elijah Hughes
This week’s player of the week for the Orange was Elijah Hughes. Hughes averaged 16.5 points, on 44.4-percent shooting, and five rebounds. The East Carolina-transfer has added a secondary scoring punch to Tyus Battle and will need to continue to play Robin as Syracuse enters ACC play next week.
Up Next: St. Bonaventure
The Orange (8-4) will return to action following Christmas break when they close out their non-conference slate against St. Bonaventure in a Saturday matinee. Tip-off is set for 2pm. Syracuse will look to avenge last year’s 60-57 overtime loss to the Bonnies. St. Bonaventure is 4-8 and is coming off a 64-59 loss to Northeastern on Friday. The Bonnies are led by Courtney Stockard who is averaging 17.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per contest.