In battle of Boeheims, Syracuse basketball holds off Cornell

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Syracuse guard Tyus Battle shoots during the first half of Syracuse's game. Mandatory Photo Credit: Kicia Sears, The Juice Online.

Three nights after their most impressive win of the young season, Syracuse blew a 15-point second half lead and needed a late 7-0 run to defeat Cornell at the Carrier Dome. Having scored 25 of the game’s last 30 points, the Orange (5-2) went up 39-24 a couple minutes into the second half.

The Big Red (4-4) stitched together a 24-8 advantage over a ten-minute span, including streaks of nine and ten straight points, the latter giving the guests a 48-47 lead with under eight minutes remaining. Cornell’s top player, senior guard Matt Morgan, was the driving force, hitting four three-pointers and a jumper for 14 points in that time.

SU responded with a 9-2 run, capped by those seven straight points, to take the lead for good a couple minutes later.

Syracuse stitched together an early streak of seven straight points for an early 9-4 lead. Four free throws surrounded a Tyus Battle three-pointer for all the points in that span.

Over the next seven minutes, the Big Red piled up 15 of the game’s next 20 points for a 19-14 edge with less than eight minutes left in the opening half. Cornell took the lead with an 8-1 run that featured three-pointers from Matt Morgan and Jimmy Boeheim.

The Orange ran off a dozen straight points to take control of the action. Buddy Boeheim started the streak with a trey from the left wing, then Oshae Brissett took over. Brissett dropped in a left-handed lay-up, then was fouled on a post up and cashed in the two free throws. The sophomore forward then put back a miss for the bulk of a three-point play and added two more foul shots for a 26-19 SU lead with 4:32 on the clock.

Syracuse stretched their lead to nine points in the final two minutes of the half. Battle dropped in a lay-up on a spinning drive on the right baseline and curled into a three from the right wing to give the Orange a 33-24 halftime lead.

SU continued to play well out of the locker room, scoring the first six points of the second half to make it 11 straight markers. Paschal Chukwu and Brissett ran a successful give-and-go for a lay-up, with the center finishing. Chukwu then added a foul shot on the next Syracuse possession. Battle tacked on a triple and the Orange held a 39-24 advantage with just over two minutes elapsed.

» Related: Syracuse upsets No. 16 Ohio State on the road

After getting a lay-up on their next possession, SU’s offense went into the deep freeze, as they missed 10-of-12 shots and added four turnovers for good measure. Cornell took advantage of the poor play by the hosts, piling up nine straight points to cut the gap to five, then later ran off ten straight points as Morgan drained a trio of treys in a little more than two minutes for a 48-47 lead with under eight minutes to go.

Morgan’s final three in that surge proved to be the last Cornell field goal for over five minutes. During that time, a pair of foul shots was the only offense the Big Red could muster and Syracuse answered them with seven straight points.

Battle started the decisive run with a three from the left side. A couple possessions later, Frank Howard made a steal and Battle streaked down the court for a contested lay-up. Elijah Hughes than slashed through the Cornell defense for a left-handed lay-up and a 56-50 lead with under three minutes on the clock.

A Cornell jumped sliced the margin to four, but Howard swished a three from the right corner, then Battle followed a Big Red miss by swishing a fadeaway from the right side for a 61-52 Orange lead with under 90 seconds to go. Cornell got a foul shot with under a minute to go and unleashed a flurry of fouls to force SU to the line.

Marek Dolezaj was the eventual shooter, missing the front end of a one-and-one. Cornell was unsuccessful on their own trip to the line and Hughes was fouled, making both shots to push the Syracuse lead to 63-53. A Cornell jumper made it an eight-point game, but also capped the scoring on the night.

Tyus Battle continued his hot streak that has coincided with Frank Howard’s return to the lineup. Battle hit 10-of-17 shots, including 4-of-6 from deep, as he piled up 26 points. The senior guard has connected on 24 of 37 field goal attempts (64.9 percent), including 8-of-11 threes (72.7 percent) in three games with Howard rejoining him in the backcourt.

Oshae Brissett was the only other SU player to finish with more than four points, notching 13 of his 19 points in the first half and leading all players with eight rebounds.

Cornell’s Matt Morgan tied Battle’s 26-point effort, but outdid him from long range by splashing 6-of-10 threes. Jimmy Boeheim did a little bit of everything for the Big Red off the bench, finishing with nine points, six rebounds, and four assists. Josh Warren chipped in with eight points.

Syracuse will host Northeastern on Tuesday night. The Huskies (4-4) will carry a two-game win streak with them to the Carrier Dome and already have a neutral-court win over Alabama on their resume.

Four different Huskies average in double figures on the season, paced by Syracuse native Jordan Roland’s 15.9 points per outing. Roland, who graduated from Westhill High School and spent two seasons at George Washington before transferring to Northeastern, is shooting nearly 54 percent overall and has made 27 threes at a 50.9 percent clip. Bolden Brace and Donnell Gresham Jr. are both also shooting over 39 percent from three and have made at least 14 triples each on the young season.

Tuesday’s action between the Orange and Huskies will get underway at 7:00pm Eastern from the Dome and the game will be available online at ESPN3.com.

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Jim Stechschulte
About Jim Stechschulte 521 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.