Instant Juice: Syracuse 60, Pittsburgh 55

Jim Boeheim
Jim Boeheim coaches during the first half of Syracuse's game.

A quick take on Syracuse’s 60-55 road win over Pittsburgh Saturday afternoon at Petersen Events Center on the Pitt campus:

WHAT HAPPENED: After dropping four straight games, Syracuse (15-6, 4-4) has now won three in-a-row after beating the Panthers for the second time in 11 days, and keeping Pitt (8-14, 0-9) winless in conference play.  As in the first meeting in the Dome Jan. 16, offense was at a premium as each team struggled shooting from the outside (both teams shot under 30% in the first half, with SU 1-10 from beyond the arc), but the Orange had just enough point production in the second half and consistent defensive play throughout, to get to .500 in the ACC.

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ANALYSIS:. With Matthew Moyer out with a sprained ankle, Jim Boeheim utilized a seven man rotation, but no matter who played the Orange offense struggled coming off its most potent shooting game of the season versus Boston College (60% from the field) last Wednesday night.  Picking up the slack for Frank Howard who had only six points, and breaking a 38-38 game in the final 8:00, Tyus Battle hit a couple of key second half baskets to finish with 14.  But the standout was Bourama Sidibe who had the best game of his brief ‘Cuse career coming off the bench to register a double-double.  The SU defense recorded a strong game blocking 11 Panther shots.

HERO: Playing by far his most minutes in a game, and in his top performance of an injury-plagued freshman season with the agressive double-double performance, Sidibe came off the bench to put some offense to the inside game with 18 points (including a key 6 of 8 from the foul line), along with 16 rebounds and three blocked shots.

ZERO: The lack of offensive production for the second time against last place Pittsburgh kept the game close.  SU scored 59 points in the Dome win over the Panthers, and managed 60 points this time around.  The Orange scored 81 in the win over B.C. on Wednesday.

WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse stays on the road in ACC play meeting Georgia Tech on Wed., Jan. 31 at McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta.  The teams split two regular season games last year, each winning at home.  The Yellow Jackets (10-10, 3-4) host No. 17/18 Clemson Sunday night.  Game Time: 8:00 p.m. ET / TV: ACC Network.

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Brad Bierman
About Brad Bierman 474 Articles
Now in his fifth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.