Instant Juice: Syracuse 62, Miami 55

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

A quick take on Syracuse’s gutsy 62-55 upset win against Miami Saturday afternoon at Watsco Center on UM’s Coral Gables campus:

WHAT HAPPENED: A game after hurting its NCAA resume with a home loss to N.C. State, Syracuse got back to .500 in conference play by holding on against the ‘Canes to notch a hard-earned road victory, boosting its NCAA credentials.  Both teams wore warm-up t-shirts showing support for this past week’s mass shooting at a South Florida high school that resulted in 17 deaths.

» Related: Syracuse imperils its NCAA Tournament chances as perimeter defense falters

ANALYSIS: In a game tied 25-25 at halftime with defense dominating, the Orange (18-9, 7-7) upped its lead to 12 midway through the second half before Miami (18-8, 7-7) stormed back to tie the game at 43.  But the final four minutes SU had enough offense and defensive stops, finishing with 64% shooting overall, holding UM to 33% shooting, and forcing 11 ‘Canes turnovers, to prevail.

HERO: Picking up the offensive slack for Tyus Battle who was hounded consistently and had trouble shooting from beyond the arc, Frank Howard had half of his game-high 18 points after halftime to go along with six assists, two rebounds, a steal, block, and just one turnover.  Marek Dolezaj had a solid game with 11 timely points, three boards and two assists.

ZERO: A rare “off” game for Battle, averaging 20.2 points per game, even though he hit a key three point basket and some foul shots late to ice the game away.  SU’s leading scorer finished with 11 points on 4-for-14 shooting.

WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse returns home to face No. 14 North Carolina Wednesday, Feb. 21. The Orange is 1-5 against the Tar Heels since joining the ACC (including one loss at the 2016 Final Four).  Carolina ( 20-7, 9-5) plays at Louisville Saturday evening.  Game time: 7:00 p.m. ET / TV: ESPN.

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Syracuse surges past Miami to remain in thick of NCAA Tournament hunt
Syracuse imperils its NCAA Tournament chances as perimeter defense falters

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Brad Bierman
About Brad Bierman 528 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.