A quick take on Syracuse’s 72-62 win over No. 16 Ohio State on Wednesday night in the Big 10/ACC Challenge:
WHAT HAPPENED: Down 45-44 with 11:36 left, Syracuse responded with a 10-0 run to take a 55-45 lead after Tyus Battle’s free throw with 8:58 to go. Ohio State was not done, using a 6-0 run to pull within 64-58 with 2:56 to go after a pair of free throws from CJ Jackson after Syracuse guard Frank Howard fouled out. But Battle answered with 1:06 left on a lefty layup and on the ensuing play, Elijah Hughes collected a turnover from Jackson and cruised in for a layup, giving the Orange 68-58 lead and a signature non-conference win.
ANALYSIS: It seems a little early to say, but SU badly needed a win to bolster its non-conference resume. After bad losses to Connecticut and Oregon in the 2K Classic at Madison Square Garden, the Orange was in danger of leaving November without a quality win. But after struggling with its shooting through the first 4 1/2 games of the season, SU seemed to find its shooting stroke against Colgate in the second half last week. The momentum carried over to Columbus, where SU had by far its best offensive performance from the season, shooting 48 percent from the field and 11 of 24 from downtown. Certainly the return of Frank Howard played a role, with the Orange enjoying better floor spacing assisting on 13 of its 22 baskets.
HERO: Elijah Hughes was one of the biggest reasons for the Orange’s renaissance from beyond the arc, shooting 4 of 9 from downtown for 18 points. Tyus Battle led the way with 20 points. Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim seems to have found his rotation, playing eight players, with Jalen Carey, Bourama Sidibe and Marek Dolezaj coming off the bench. Buddy Boeheim, who had started SU’s first two games and had appeared in the Orange’s five other games was relegated to the bench.
ZERO: A big foul difference was evident in the box score, with the Orange being whistled 28 times as opposed to Ohio State’s 17. Howard, Dolezaj and Sidibe fouled out, while Paschal Chukwu had four fouls.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse returns home to face Cornell on December 1 at 8 p.m. at the Carrier Dome. TV: ESPNU.