Syracuse subdues Ohio State on the road for a needed win

Ohio State
Syracuse defends against Ohio State in the Big 10/ACC Challenege. Mandatory Photo Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports.

use’s zone defense, which was shredded in earlier losses to Connecticut and Oregon, held #16 Ohio State without a field goal for over eight minutes in the second half, allowing the Orange to take a lead they would not relinquish in a 72-62 road win in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. While putting the clamps down on defense, SU (4-2) went on a 15-2 run to blow open the game, never allowing the Buckeyes (6-1) to get within a half dozen points the rest of the way.

Syracuse also showed they could do something they had not done all season – make three-point shots. The Orange came into the game hitting 23.3 percent from deep, but connected on 11-of-24 attempts (45.8 percent) from beyond the arc against the Bucks.

SU also overcame significant foul trouble, as they were whistled for 28 infractions compared to Ohio State’s 17, a number that included a couple late fouls to extend the game. Three Syracuse players fouled out of the game and four others ended the contest with at least three fouls.

Ohio State used an early run of seven straight points to take a 9-2 lead with the game barely two minutes old. The Buckeyes held the lead until Syracuse put together an 8-1 run to knot the game during a six-minute stretch where they held OSU without a field goal.

Elijah Hughes started the run with a deep three-point shot, then Tyus Battle dropped in a floater. Following an OSU free throw, Marek Dolezaj stuck a three-pointer from a step to the right of the top of the key, tying the game at 17 a side with under nine minutes left in the opening half.

The Orange took the lead for the first time three minutes later, riding a right wing three from Dolezaj and another long triple from Hughes to a 24-21 lead with less than six minutes until halftime.

Ohio State struck back with a 10-3 run to go on top. Battle halted the streak with a spinning drive for a lay-up in the final seconds of the half that cut the Buckeye lead to 31-29 at the break.

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Just under a minute out of the locker room, SU charged in front with eight straight points. Frank Howard drilled a three from the left wing to put Syracuse in front. Oshae Brissett extended the run with a pair of free throws, then capped the burst with a long trey for a 39-33 lead.

OSU wrested the lead back once more, using a 10-2 run for a two-point lead. Hughes responded with a three from the right wing to nudge the Orange in front, but the Buckeyes used a pair of foul shots to go back on top, 45-44.

SU then exploded with 11 straight points to trigger a 15-2 run. Jalen Carey fed a cutting Brissett for a lay-up, then zipped a long lead pass to Hughes for a fast break three-point play. Hughes then came off a screen for a right wing three. Battle shook free just inside the arc for a jumper, then made the front end of a one-and-one opportunity to put Syracuse in front by double figures.

The Bucks got two foul shots to stop the streak, but Battle took advantage of two more trips to the charity stripe, tacking on all four free throws for the biggest Orange lead of the night at 59-47 with 6:21 to play.

Ohio State struck back with the game’s next five points, but Howard made a jumper just inside the arc and Brissett fed Battle, who swished a contested three at the right break, to reinstate the 12-point SU lead.

The Buckeyes would not go quietly, clawing back within a half dozen with just under three minutes to go, but both teams went scoreless until Battle got a high-arcing lay-up to bounce, then fall through the rim with just over a minute to go.

Seconds later, Hughes picked up a loose ball and went the distance for a lay-in that gave SU a 68-58 lead with under a minute to go. The Orange coasted home from there.

Tyus Battle led all scorers with 20 points in the game, including a dozen in the second half. Elijah Hughes hit four three-pointers for the bulk of his 18 points and Oshae Brissett had 11 of his 14 points in the second half. Marek Dolezaj and Frank Howard each chipped in with eight points, the former doing all of his scoring in the first half to help keep SU afloat early.

C.J. Jackson paced the Buckeyes with 19 points. Kaleb Wesson added 13 points and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds. Kyle Young was the third OSU player in double digits, finishing with a dozen points.

The Orange return to the Carrier Dome on Saturday when they host Cornell. The Big Red (4-3) are led by Matt Morgan, who averages 23.6 points per game by shooting over 56 percent from the field and 49 percent from three-point range. The only other player averaging double digits for Cornell is Jimmy Boeheim, who is averaging 11.7 points per game.

Saturday’s contest between the Central New York schools will top off at 8:00pm Eastern. The game will be televised by ESPNU and will also be available online at

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About Jim Stechschulte 888 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.