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Syracuse Rallies for Big Win at Duke 0

Posted on January 16, 2019 by Chris Kent

Committing three turnovers, four fouls, and shooting 0-for-3 including one missed layup – all which cause the head coach to make three substitutions over the first 3:02 of the game – is not a recipe for a win, especially against the number one team in the country on its’ home court. Add in the fact that you trail 12-0 before scoring your first point of the game and two of your team fouls are on your starting senior point guard who does not score in the first half, and you have even more of a hole to dig out of. However that is exactly what Syracuse did in a thrilling 95-91 road victory over No. 1 Duke on Monday Jan. 14 at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, NC. It was the first victory for the Orange over a No. 1 ranked team since Jan. 19, 2013 when it won at Louisville, 70-68.

Tyus Battle elevates for a breakaway dunk during Monday’s thrilling overtime victory over No. 1 Duke.

Junior shooting guard Tyus Battle lead the Orange (12-5, 3-1) with 32 points and had four assists while junior forward Elijah Hughes shot 4-for-9 on three-pointers en route to 20 points and grabbed five rebounds. Senior center Paschal Chukwu added a career-high 18 rebounds and scored 10 points. Battle’s 32 points represented the most points ever scored by a Syracuse player against the Blue Devils. Duke (14-2, 3-1) was lead by freshman forward Zion Williamson who had a career high 35 points and 10 rebounds while freshman forward RJ Barrett fell one assist short of a triple double with 23 points, 16 rebounds, and 9 assists. Williamson’s 35 points were the most ever by a Blue Devil freshman in a single game.

The Orange were coming off a sluggish performance in a 73-59 home loss to Georgia Tech just 48 hours earlier on Jan. 12 in which they had their worst shooting performance of the season  (18-for-57, .316) in dropping their first Atlantic Coast Conference game of the season. However all that was short lived as Syracuse made a quick turnaround to notch a marquee win. Meanwhile, Duke was coming off a thrilling 80-78 win at Florida State on Jan. 12, secured by a late three-pointer by freshman Cam Reddish with 0.8 seconds left to play.

Against the Orange, The Blue Devils assumed control early with a 12-0 lead three minutes into the game. However that would be the largest margin for either side the whole game. Although Reddish did not play at all and Duke starting point guard Tre Jones did not return to the game after suffering a shoulder injury while diving for a loose ball at the 14:23 mark of the first half, Syracuse still faced a major challenge. The Orange soon found its’ rhythm behind the play of Battle and Hughes who literally shot Syracuse back into the game. The Orange mounted a 17-6 run over the next five minutes to pull within one at 18-17. Battle and Hughes accounted for all of those points with Battle netting 12 and Hughes adding five. Each of them hit one three-pointer during the run. While the Blue Devils would push their lead to as many as six at the midway point of the first half, Syracuse would stay close. A 5-0 Orange run on a Hughes three and two free throws by Battle forced the game’s first tie at 29 with 6:38 left in the first half. A Battle free throw gave Syracuse its’ first lead of the game at 34-33 with 5:12 left. The teams would exchange leads over the last five minutes of the half which ended with Hughes converting a three-pointer on a three quarter court heave that beat the halftime buzzer bringing Syracuse to within one, 49-48. Read the rest of this entry →

Crucial Week Lies Ahead for Syracuse Orange as Huge Games Loom 0

Posted on February 20, 2018 by Chris Kent

An absolute crucial week is about to commence for the Syracuse men’s basketball team. Come late Saturday night, it could end up making or breaking the season for the Orange.

SU LogoWhile Syracuse’s regular season finale on March 3 with nationally ranked Clemson (20-6, 9-5) will carry weight for its’ NCAA Tournament hopes as well, this week’s back-to-back games against ACC bluebloods North Carolina and Duke will be enormous for the Orange as they seek to secure an NCAA bid. Although Syracuse will also compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament March 6-10 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY where its’ play could also factor into their chances for an NCAA bid, leaving most or all of their NCAA fortunes to that event would be risky when it is not yet even known what the seedings or matchups are going to be.

The Orange (18-9, 7-7) will play three of their final four regular season games against teams currently ranked in the top 15 and who also have a top 10 RPI. A win or two against those teams would place Syracuse on solid instead of shaky ground by the end of the regular season. This would be to their advantage and seem to make their NCAA path easier. Although it is possible for a team “on the bubble” to play its’ way to an NCAA bid based on what they do during championship week, it is a tougher road.

The competition level ramps up for the Orange on Wednesday Feb. 21 when defending national champion North Carolina (21-7,

Roy Williams coaches with fierce intensity and has another 20-win season in 2017-18.

Roy Williams coaches with intensity and has another 20-win season in 2017-18.

10-5) visits the Carrier Dome for a nationally televised prime time game at 7 pm EST on ESPN. Ranked 10th in this week’s AP Poll and possessing an RPI of five, the Tar Heels are riding a five-game winning streak that has featured wins over Duke, North Carolina State, and Louisville. Meanwhile, Syracuse has won three of its’ last four games and comes off a 62-55 win at Miami on Feb. 17.

North Carolina has another strong team this year and is lead by the trio of senior guards Joel Berry II and Theo Pinson along with 6-8 junior forward Luke Maye who leads the team in scoring and rebounding with 18.4 and 10.5 averages respectively. Berry II and Pinson not only give the Tar Heels production but a pair of senior leaders in the backcourt who have played in the last two national championship games. Berry averages 17.7 points per-game and dishes out 3.1 assists per-game while Pinson adds 9.3 ppg along with a team-best 4.5 apg. Junior guard Kenny Williams also scores 11.5 ppg.

Berry II is one of the better point guards in North Carolina history. Named to the All-Final Four Teams each of the last two seasons, Berry II is one of just two players in ACC history to be named the ACC Tournament MVP in one season (2016) and garner Final Four Most Outstanding Player in another (2017), joining Duke legend Christian Laettner, arguably the top NCAA Tournament performer of all-time. Read the rest of this entry →

Pittsburgh and Villanova Pose Roadblocks for Syracuse in Big East 1

Posted on January 25, 2011 by Chris Kent

Pennsylvania was once known as The Coal State when coal mining was one of its’ leading industries. Regardless of where that stands in the state’s economy today, the Syracuse University men’s basketball team has to wonder if the mines have been rejuvenated over the past decade or so in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. If they were to investigate, the Orange would probably find Panthers and Wildcats mining the coal.

Big East foes Pittsburgh and Villanova have left Syracuse feeling like one who wakes up Christmas morning and finds just that – coal – in their stocking more times than not. Despite a stellar run of success by the Orange since the 2000-01 season, which peaked with their first and only national championship in 2003, Pittsburgh and Villanova have been a thorn in their side. Syracuse is only 10-23 against the Pennsylvania duo since the 2000-01 season commenced.

Rick Jackson of Syracuse battles against Mouphtaou Yarou of Villanova on Jan. 22 in the Carrier Dome. Villanova won 83-72. (Richard Mackson/US Presswire)

The coal was evident twice last week for the No. 3 Orange whose undefeated season of 18-0 ended with back-to-back losses to two of their toughest conference foes, both nationally ranked. First came a trip to the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh where Syracuse lost to the fifth-ranked Panthers, 74-66 on Jan. 17. Pittsburgh jumped on the Orange early en route to a 19-0 lead. Although Syracuse scored the next 17 points to pull within two, they would never lead in the game which featured just one tie, that coming in the second half.

Five days later on Jan. 22, the Orange hosted No. 7 Villanova in the Carrier Dome before a crowd of 33,736, the second largest on-campus crowd in NCAA college basketball history. Villanova prevailed 83-72 behind a timely shooting display that busted the fabled 2-3 zone of Syracuse. It was Villanova’s 13th win over the Orange in the Dome, the most of any Syracuse opponent all-time.

Two games against ranked opponents in less than six full days and the Orange had been humbled with a pair of defeats, knocking them not only from the ranks of the undefeated and from atop the Big East standings, but causing them to drop in the national rankings. Syracuse had to feel as though a lump of coal had been handed to them not once, but twice. The Orange, ranked third in both the Associated Press and the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Polls on Jan. 17, fell to 10th and ninth in the polls respectively on Jan. 24.

Thus, Pittsburgh and Villanova have been the Achilles heel of Syracuse which has otherwise dominated most of their Big East foes. Since the 2000-01 season, the Orange sports a winning record against 11 of the other 13 teams that currently make up the Big East which expanded to 16 teams for the 2005-06 season. Read the rest of this entry →

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