Syracuse fought off pesky Morehead State on Saturday night at the Carrier Dome, 84-70. Here are three things we learned from the game:
1. Syracuse recovers after a sloppy start
The biggest story of the first half was that Syracuse turned the ball over 11 times leading to 13 points off turnovers for Morehead State.
Without starting point guard Frank Howard, still out with an injury, the SU offense has had a difficult time getting into its offensive sets. Tyus Battle has started two exhibition and regular season games as the team’s point guard, and hasn’t looked comfortable in the role.
Freshman Jalen Carey provided 15 backup point guard minutes off the bench, but struggled, turning the ball over four times.
With five minutes left in the first half, Syracuse was only up by five. With all of their offensive struggles, what was once a 20-7 game, in favor of SU became a one point game after Morehead State went on a 20 to 8 point run.
“I think that we got off to a good start,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. “We made some really bad turnovers, they go after the ball, really aggressive team and I thought they did a great job getting loose balls and jumping back into the game.”
Syracuse took better care of the ball in the second half, with just three turnovers leading to only three points off turnovers.
2. Brissett dominates first half, but trails off in the second
Syracuse never actually surrendered their lead, with the help of Oshae Brissett (14 first half points) who carried the Orange into intermission. He was one of the few reasons why SU hung on to its 36-30 lead.
But Brissett was quiet in the second half, with only three points to finish with 17. He missed several opportunities around the basket, though he finished with a game high 13 rebounds.
“I thought Oshae was really aggressive tonight,” Boeheim said, “He just can’t miss those shots around the basket.”
“We scored 84 points and missed ten layups. We’ve got to be able to make some of those […] this team is very good, we have four guys that can get to the basket but we have to do that.”
3. Battle overcomes 0-6 start
After a shaky first half, Syracuse’s offense started to come back to life in the second. The same could be said for Battle.
SU’s starting point guard struggled, missing his first six shots. But Battle quickly recovered after the break, shooting 5 for 7 and finishing 7 for 15.
He was 9 for 10 on free throws.
“[Battle] can score from anywhere, it doesn’t matter where he is,” Boeheim said. “Right now, he’s not shooting the ball, he’s not making 3. He scored 23 points tonight and hasn’t made a three all year I don’t think. When he starts shooting those then he’ll be fine. I know what he can do.”
That’s a team-wide epidemic, with the Orange going 3 for 16 from beyond the arc after going 3 for 17 in their first game of the season against Eastern Washington.
“I think we learned a lot tonight,” Boeheim said. “I think it’s a learning experience for us and we’ll move on.”