NEW YORK — A quick take on Syracuse’s 72-63 win against UCONN at the 2017 Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden:
WHAT HAPPENED: After Tyus Battle scored seven straight SU points to give Syracuse a 55-38 with 13:23 to go, Christian Vital responded with a pair of 3-pointers, and his layup with 7:15 left pulled the Huskies to within 62-53. That made for a tense finish to a game that the Orange had led almost from the tip. But with 4:10 left, Battle found Oshae Brissett off an offensive rebound for a slam to put the Orange back up 11 to swing momentum, and SU was able to hang on for the win over its old conference foe.
ANALYSIS: Syracuse will be in nearly every game it plays this season because of its improved 2-3 defense, which forced 17 turnovers, and its tenacity on the glass, where SU held a +14 advantage. But conversely, Syracuse will likely not have any blowouts against high-major teams because of its lackluster offense and shaky perimeter defense. The Orange shot just 4-16 from downtown and committed 15 turnovers of their own. It also surrendered 7-17 shooting from beyond the arc to UConn. Still, in front of an electric crowd at Madison Square Garden, where fans still talk about 2009’s Six Overtime game, it was a satisfying win for the Orange.
HERO: Matt Moyer had come into Tuesday’s game with career highs of 11 points and seven rebounds, set against Toledo on Nov. 22. With Geno Thorpe no longer with the team and Bourama Sidibe hobbled by a leg injury, Moyer got extra playing time, setting career-highs with 18 points and eight rebounds, including the first 3-pointer of his college career and a thunderous put-back slam with 2:40 minutes to go to give SU a final push to the win.
ZERO: Frank Howard had a nightmare night, shooting 1-11 form the field, 0-5 from downtown and committed eight turnovers.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse returns home to face Colgate on Saturday at the Carrier Dome. TV: ACC Network Extra.