A quick take on Syracuse’s 72-70 win against Maryland on Monday evening at the Carrier Dome:
WHAT HAPPENED: Trailing 66-65 with 1:04 left, Tyus Battle drained a baseline 3-pointer to give the lead back to the Orange for good. On Maryland’s ensuing possession, Anthony Cowan committed an uncharacteristically unforced turnover, and Battle responded with two more free throws. Kevin Huerter, an upstate New York native drained a 3-pointer (a recurring theme throughout) to bring the Terps back within one, but Battle broke away for a slam with five seconds left, and Syracuse won a wildly entertaining back-and-forth game.
ANALYSIS: It was a game in November that had the feeling of March basketball. Syracuse won by consistently getting inside and remaining aggressive on the offensive glass. SU outrebounded Maryland +7, including a 19-11 advantage on the offensive glass, resulting in 12 more field goal attempts. Meanwhile, Maryland remained competitive by bombing away often and without hesitation from beyond the arc, hitting 11 of 23 from downtown compared to just 3 of 18 shooting for SU. Though SU had come into this game 5-0, none came against a Power 5 team until tonight. Though prognosticators buried SU at the bottom of the ACC pre-season rankings, the Orange showed that it will be a tough out on any given night, especially with a significantly improved defense that forced 18 turnovers.
HERO: Battle led Syracuse with 18 points, including SU’s final nine points. Frank Howard chipped in 15 points and 10 assists. For Maryland, Huerter led all scorers with 23 points on 7 for 9 shooting from the field in front of a huge cheering section filled with friends and family.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse plays No. 2 Kansas on Saturday, Dec. 2 at 5:30 p.m. at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Fla. TV: ESPN.