A quick take on Syracuse’s dramatic 82-81 win over Clemson on Tuesday evening:
WHAT HAPPENED: Down by eight with roughly eight minutes left to go, the Orange closed the gap over the next four minutes, pulling to within 75-74 after a Tyler Lydon dunk with 4:00 to go. From there, the teams traded the lead three times in the final minute, but Donte Grantham’s free throw line jumper with 6.7 seconds left gave Clemson a 81-79 lead. But Tyus Battle’s 3-pointer as time expired gave Syracuse an improbable win, its fifth in a row, and the Orange won for just the second time on the road this season.
ANALYSIS: Syracuse appears to have all the momentum at its back now. Just three weeks ago, the Orange was left for dead in the NCAA Tournament race, but SU now stands 16-9, and 8-4 in ACC play, and also has won two straight on the road after going winless all season. And it has been the way the Orange has won during its five-game winning streak. SU has played to the wire each time, and tonight, it was Battle who played hero, draining a 3 to send Central New York into euphoria. After having its mental toughest questioned all season, there is little doubt that this Orange team has solidified and cannot be counted out, no matter what the odds.
HERO: Well, this one is obvious. Battle, who was just 1-6 from the field prior to that shot, will have a play go down in SU history along with Tyler Ennis’ buzzer beater against Pitt and Pearl Washington’s halfcourt heave against BC. Andrew White led the way with 23 points, including a key 3-pointer with under two minutes left that gave SU its first lead since midway through the second half.
ZERO: Neither team played particular good defense, with both teams shooting over 50 percent. SU’s zone, which had looked sharp recently, yielded just eight turnovers. But after a win like this, a zero would be nitpicking.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse stays on the road and will play at Pitt on Saturday at 1 p.m.