Syracuse basketball’s NCAA hopes take a hit against Boston College

Tyus Battle reacts during the second half of Syracuse's loss to Boston College. Mandatory Photo Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday night, Syracuse saw their NCAA Tournament hopes get buried in an avalanche of Boston College three-pointers. BC (17-13, 7-10 ACC) dropped in 14 bombs from behind the arc, cruising to an 85-70 home victory and dealing a significant blow to the postseason hopes of the Orange (18-12, 7-10). The Eagles allowed SU to get within a single point late in the first half, but regained control after the break and used a late run to put a stranglehold on the game.

Not content to torment Syracuse just from outside, the Eagles shot the ball well from everywhere. Boston College hit just over 48 percent from the field, including just shy of 52 percent on their threes, and added just over 79 percent of their free throws for good measure. Ball movement was key, as BC logged 19 assists on their 26 field goals.

The weakness of the Orange was their shooting inside the arc, making only 9-of-26 (34.6 percent) two-point field goals, while hitting on 10-of-24 from long range and 22-of-25 at the charity stripe. The guests also harmed themselves with 15 turnovers in the game.

SU got into the scorebook first when Tyus Battle claimed an offensive rebound and passed to Frank Howard for a three-pointer. Boston College then ripped off ten straight points in just over two-and-a-half minutes. The burst included a pair of threes, setting a trend for the opening half as the hosts hit nine triples before the break.

Battle also heated up from deep, hitting a pair of treys from up top around one from the right wing. The last of those triples brought the Orange within 15-12. Once more, the Eagles got rolling from long range, using three shots from behind the arc for the bulk of a 12-2 run that gave them a 27-14 lead with 8:45 left in the opening half.

Syracuse crept back within nine three times before breaking through that barrier. After another three gave BC a 34-22 lead with just over six minutes left in the half, the Orange rolled up 11 straight points.

» Related: Can Syracuse win at least its next three games?

Oshae Brissett started the hot streak by cashing in two sets of foul shots, then got a contested lay-up to swirl into the hoop. Battle added a pair of free throws off a transition play, then Howard corralled a long rebound and pushed in transition, dropping a pass to Battle on the right wing for a swished three that drew SU within 34-33 with under two minutes left in the half.

Two more Eagle threes found the net, but Battle got a fast break lay-up, then a pair of foul shots with four seconds left to cap a 20-point opening half and clip the Boston College lead to 40-37 at the break.

BC scored seven of the first eight points out of the locker room, taking a 47-38 lead. Brissett hit a three-pointer to chop into the lead, but the hosts would later put together an 8-2 run to stretch their lead to 58-45 just over eight minutes into the second half.

Battle struck back with a triple from the left side and a fast break three-point-play off a steal to bring Syracuse within seven points just before the midpoint of the half. Under 90 seconds later, the Eagles hung seven straight points to begin an 11-3 run that gave them their biggest lead of the night at 73-57 with just over six minutes to play.

The Orange strung together five free throws to regain some momentum, but a traveling call on Brissett erased a basket and sent the squads into the final media timeout of the night. BC got a pair of foul shots after the break and SU was never able to get within 11 points after that.

Tyus Battle led all scorers with 29 points, hitting five three-pointers along the way. Oshae Brissett fell one rebound shy of a double-double, finishing with 18 points and nine rebounds. Frank Howard had 17 points, but shot only 6-of-20 from the field.

Ky Bowman hit 5-of-8 threes for the bulk of his 23 points for Boston College. Jerome Robinson backed his backcourt mate with 22 points, drilling three triples. Jordan Chatman also had five threes as he rolled up 18 points. Nik Popovic was the fourth Eagle in double figures, chipping in 11 points.

Syracuse will close out their schedule on Saturday afternoon when they welcome #18 Clemson to the Carrier Dome. The Tigers (22-7, 11-6) lost one of their best players, Donte Grantham, to injury in mid-January and, after a couple weeks of strong play, seemed to run out of adrenaline, dropping three straight. Clemson, however, has appeared to right the ship with home victories over Georgia Tech and Florida State.

Four active Tigers average in double figures, led by Marcquise Reed and his 16.1 points per game. Gabe DeVoe is the top three-point shooter for Clemson, as he has made 71 three-pointers on the season at a 41.3 percent clip.

Saturday’s game is slated to start at 2:00pm Eastern and will be televised in certain markets by the ACC Network. The telecast will also be available at

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About Jim Stechschulte 894 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. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by He currently resides in Syracuse.