Syracuse, finding balance on offense and defense, routs Boston College

Tyus Battle
Syracuse Orange guard Tyus Battle (25) drives to the basket defended by Boston College Eagles guard Ky Bowman (0) during the second half at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports.

Making shots cures a lot of ills and can even end losing streaks, such as the four-game slide Syracuse was suffering before enjoying a comfortable 81-63 home victory over Boston College on Wednesday night.  The Orange (14-6, 3-4 ACC) shot over 60 percent from the floor, getting five players into double figures as they pulled away after halftime and coasted to the win.

Despite forcing 17 turnovers in the game, SU’s 2-3 zone defense was not particularly sharp, allowing the Eagles (13-8, 3-5) to shoot just shy of 48 percent from the field, both inside and outside the arc.  BC rained in 11 three-pointers, but just could not keep up with the balanced Syracuse attack.

The Orange were especially sharp inside the three-point-line.  As a team, they made 22-of-32 two-point field goals, good for a 68.8 percent success rate.  That efficiency went a long way toward SU’s 30-14 advantage in points in the paint.

Boston College came out on fire, hitting their first five shots, including four from beyond the arc.  That perfect marksmanship propelled the Eagles to a 14-7 lead before the game was four minutes old.

Syracuse erased that lead in less than two minutes.  Tyus Battle dropped in a floater, then added a pull-up from just inside the arc.  Battle was fouled on a three, making only one free throw, but Frank Howard used a hesitation move on a drive to create space for a bank shot to tie the game at 14 a side.

The Orange got their first lead of the game a couple minutes later on an Oshae Brissett trey, then gave the lead right back.  That proved to be of little consequence as SU ran off eight straight points to trigger a 15-3 run.

Brissett started the streak with a pull-up just inside the paint, then swished a stepback three from the left corner.  Paschal Chukwu cleaned up his own mess with a putback, then Howard tacked on a foul shot for a 27-20 lead.

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BC got a three to stop the bleeding, but Syracuse came right back with seven more points.  Battle used a crossover to create space for a mid-range jumper, then Howard finished off the stretch with a straightaway triple and a jumper just inside the arc for a 34-23 Orange lead with just over six minutes left in the half.

SU pushed the lead out to 14 points on two occasions, but Boston College drew back within eight in the final minute of the half.  Chukwu scored on an offensive rebound, though, to make it 47-37 at half, but not until a heave from BC’s own three-point-line came after the horn and did not count.

The Eagles opened the second half with a three, but Syracuse ran off the game’s next 11 points to blow the game open.  Marek Dolezaj got a lay-in off a pass from Howard, then created another with a drive from the arc.  Battle swished a three to force a BC time out, but it did not slow down the Orange.  Battle sliced in for a lay-up and Dolezaj set up Chukwu down low for a 58-40 lead with less than five minutes off the clock.

Boston College was able to get within a dozen with just over seven minutes to play, but the SU defense shut them down, not allowing another field goal for almost five minutes.  The Syracuse offense was able to more than offset the three Eagle free throws in that time, pushing the lead back out to 18 points before a lay-up broke the BC drought.

SU’s Tyus Battle had 15 of his game-high 24 points in the second half.  His backcourt mate, Frank Howard, complemented him by scoring 16 of his 18 points, including three triples, before the break.  Paschal Chukwu made 6-of-7 shots as he scored 14 points and Oshae Brissett added 13 points and grabbed three steals.  Marek Dolezaj, who got extended minutes after Matthew Moyer rolled his ankle early in the first half, made all four of his field goals and all four of his foul shots for a dozen points.

Jerome Robinson paced Boston College with 21 points and Ky Bowman drained five three-pointers for the majority of his 20 points.  Jordan Chatman made four threes for his dozen points before fouling out.

The Orange return to action on Saturday when they complete their home-and-home series with Pittsburgh (8-12, 0-7 also plays Wed night).  The Orange used a late burst to defeat the Panthers at the Carrier Dome last Tuesday, 59-45.  Frank Howard led the Orange with 18 points in that contest, while Parker Stewart connected on seven threes as he led Pitt with 23.

SU and Pittsburgh will tip off in the Petersen Events Center at 4:00pm Eastern on Saturday.  The game will be televised in certain markets by the ACC Network and the telecast will be available on ESPN3.com.

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Jim Stechschulte
About Jim Stechschulte 470 Articles
A 1996 graduate of Syracuse University, Jim has reported on Syracuse sports for the Syracuse University Alumni Club of Southern California on nearly a decade, where he currently resides. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by NBA.com. Follow him on Twitter @DSafetyGuy.