Tyus Battle made seven field goals in the second half Saturday afternoon against Georgetown, but none was bigger than the game-winner with 2.5 seconds to go. Syracuse’s junior guard brought the ball up against pressure defense, elevated, and squared his shoulders to drain an 18-foot jumper from above the right elbow that gave the Orange a 72-71 win at home over their longtime rival.
Battle’s winning shot capped a second half offensive explosion, as he piled up 21 of his game-high 26 points after intermission. His final jumper closed a game where SU trailed the Hoyas by as many as 15 points.
Syracuse put forth a strong second half effort to push their record to 7-2 on the season and dropped Georgetown to the same mark. The Orange shot 60 percent from the floor in the second half after hitting on a meager 25 percent of their first half shots. That second half effort included connecting on 7-of-14 three-pointers.
That strong shooting was missing in the opening half. After SU grabbed an early 5-3 lead, they went scoreless for over six minutes. Georgetown took advantage by posting ten straight points for an eight-point edge with less than eight minutes off the clock.
Syracuse fought back, getting within four points a couple of times, but the Hoyas answered the latter with an 8-2 run that gave them their first double figure lead of the day at 25-15 with just over five minutes left in the half.
The Orange could only draw within eight points but six straight Georgetown points pushed their lead out to 14 points with under two minutes on the clock and the guests cruised to the half with a 35-22 lead.
After the Hoyas scored the opening basket of the second half, the SU offense roared to life, posting a 14-2 run. Tyus Battle hit a three-pointer to start the streak. Elijah Hughes had a fast break lay-up and Battle added two foul shots.
Following a Georgetown jumper, Paschal Chukwu scored on a pick-and-roll with Oshae Brissett. Battle followed that with a left-handed flip for a three-point play and another transition drive to bring Syracuse within 39-36 and force a Hoya timeout less than four minutes into the half.
The guests would eventually stretch their lead back out to 48-41, but the Orange countered with 13 straight points to take the lead. Chukwu started the run with two free throws and Brissett added a fast break lay-up. Battle dropped in a pair of pull-up jumpers around a Hughes trey and Brissett drove into the paint for a lay-up that gave SU a 54-48 edge just past the midpoint of the half.
Syracuse kept the guests at bay for a couple minutes, but the Hoyas knotted the score at 60 a side with six straight points, then made it an 11-2 run for a 65-62 lead with under five minutes to go.
Chukwu finished an alley-oop to cut the margin to a single point, then Jalen Carey rattled home a three against the shot clock for a 67-66 lead. After the Hoyas went back in front, Battle answered with a right wing three for a 70-68 Orange edge with 90 seconds to go.
Georgetown answered with a three to go back on top with just over a minute to go. After a fruitless offensive possession, SU settled in on defense, eventually getting the stop when Marek Dolezaj drew a charge with 10.6 seconds on the clock, setting up Battle’s winning jumper.
During the ensuing time out, the officials adjusted the clock from 2.5 seconds to 2.8 seconds. Georgetown was able to get a half-court shot, but the ball thudded off the heel of the rim, preserving the Syracuse win.
Tyus Battle tied his season-high mark of 26 points and also grabbed three steals. Elijah Hughes hit four triples in the game and scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half. Oshae Brissett fell one rebound shy of a double-double, finishing with a dozen points and nine boards. Pachasl Chukwu added eight points to the Orange attack, all in the second half.
Jessie Govan led Georgetown with 22 points and also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds. Mac McClung added 18 points, including 13 in the first half. Greg Malinowski came off the bench to pour in 11 points in the game’s final ten minutes.
Syracuse is off until next Saturday, when they will host Old Dominion. The Monarchs have won their last four contests to reach 6-3 on the season and will take on Fairfield on Sunday prior to their matchup with the Orange.
Guards Ahmad Caver and B.J. Stith combine to score over 36 points per game for ODU. Caver leads the team with 19.2 points and 4.3 assists per game while Stith posts 16.9 points and a team-leading 8.2 rebounds per contest. Each player has already stuck 22 three-pointers on the year.
Saturday’s Syracuse-Old Dominion tip time is 12:00pm Eastern. The game will be televised by regional sports networks and also be available online at ESPN3.com.