Syracuse Follows Up Win over Top-Ranked Duke with Triumph over Pitt
Syracuse avoided a letdown with a win over Pittsburgh at home on Saturday afternoon.
The Orange gained a 28-16 lead on a jumper by Tyus Battle with 2:37 remaining in the first half. The Panthers responded with a 9-0 spurt to close the halftime margin to 28-25 in favor of Syracuse. The Orange pulled away as they opened the second stanza with a 22-6 run capped off with a dunk by Battle with 9:46 left to take a 50-31 lead. Syracuse hung on to score a 74-63 victory over their former Big East rival.
The Orange shot 46.3-percent from the field, 46.2-percent from three and held Pittsburgh 33.8-percent from the field and 31.4-percent from deep. Syracuse’s 2-3 zone perplexed the Panthers and forced them into 17 turnovers.
Jared Wilson-Frame led Pittsburgh with 19 points, on 7-of-15 shooting, and eight rebounds. Xavier Johnson chipped in with 17 points, on 6-of-11 from the field, seven rebounds, and three assists.
Battle paced the Orange with 22 points, on 9-of-17 from the floor, and three rebounds. Buddy Boeheim poured in a career-high 13 points on 4-of-5 from three-point land. Oshae Brissett added 11 points, five rebounds, four assists, and three blocks. Frank Howard scored 10 points and dished out five assists. Paschal Chukwu tallied six points and pulled down 11 boards. Elijah Hughes dropped in eight points, while Marek Dolezaj stuffed the stat sheet with four points, six rebounds, five assists, two steals, and two blocks.
Syracuse fans braved winter storm Harper and came out in a flurry as the 24,466 in attendance was the largest crowd in college basketball this season.
With the win, the Orange improved to 13-5 overall and tied for first in the ACC with a 4-1 record in conference play.
Player of the Week: Tyus Battle
Tyus Battle earned many accolades for his play this week, including NCAA Player of the Week, Naismith Player of the Week, and ACC Player of the Week. The junior guard averaged 27 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3 assists in wins over Duke and Pittsburgh. Battle now leads all active ACC players in scoring. If Syracuse plans to stay atop the ACC, Battle will need to continue to perform at an All-ACC level.
Up Next: Miami and Virginia Tech
Syracuse returns to action when they face Miami on Thursday night. Tip-off is set for 8pm. The Hurricanes are 9-8 on the season, 1-4 in league play, and are coming off an 85-76 loss to #13 North Carolina on Saturday. Miami is led by Chris Lykes who is averaging 18.1 points and 3.7 assists per game. Last year, the Orange won the lone meeting between the two schools, 62-55, in Coral Gables, Florida.
Syracuse travels to Blacksburg to square off against the tenth-ranked Virginia Tech Saturday night. Tip-off is set for 8pm. The Hokies are 15-2 overall, 4-1 in the ACC, tied with the Orange for first place, and are coming off an 103-82 loss to #11 North Carolina on Monday night. Virginia Tech is led by Nickeil Alexander-Walker who is averaging 18.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per contest. Last season, Syracuse defeated the Hokies 68-56 in the only meeting between the two schools on New Year’s Eve.