Syracuse basketball surges past Arkansas State to end a two-game skid

Chukwu_Georgetown1
Syracuse center Paschal Chukwu goes up for a layup. Mandatory Photo Credit: Kicia Sears, The Juice Online.

Saturday afternoon, Syracuse roared back from a terrible first ten minutes of play to roll past Arkansas State at the Carrier Dome, 82-52. The Red Wolves (5-7) built a 26-15 lead with 9:32 left in the first half, but the Orange (8-4) outscored them before the break by a 23-10 margin, then dominated the first dozen minutes of the second session to build an insurmountable lead.

The SU defense had a lot to do with that second half display, holding the guests to 20 percent shooting from the field and forcing 13 turnovers after halftime. Syracuse also got over their troubles at the free throw line for at least one day. The Orange started off 4-of-7 at the stripe, but closed by making 23 of their final 26 foul shots.

Arkansas State took their first lead shortly after the game was two minutes old and gradually strengthened their grasp on the game, adding a point or two to their biggest lead every couple minutes. Two consecutive successful possessions gave them a 26-15 lead just past the midpoint of the first half.

SU responded with seven straight points to propel themselves back into the contest. Paschal Chukwu started the run with a pair of foul shots. Elijah Hughes swished a three from the right corner and Frank Howard made both ends of a one-and-one to close the streak and make it a 26-22 game.

The Red Wolves stretched the lead back to a half dozen a couple minutes later, but Syracuse needed just over three minutes to post a 10-2 run to go back on top. Tyus Battle started things with a pair pull-up jumpers from nearly the same spot, then Buddy Boeheim added one free throw.

» Related: What can Syracuse basketball do to get back on track?

Following a Red Wolves basket, Chukwu made two more foul shots and Hughes set up Battle for a three from the right wing. The triple nudged the Orange in front, 35-33, with just under two-and-a-half minutes left in the opening half. The squads played evenly over the remaining time and SU held a 38-36 halftime lead.

Just over three minutes into the second half, Syracuse dropped the hammer on their guests with 11 straight points that triggered a 24-5 avalanche. Oshae Brissett and Hughes each had a three-point play to start the burst. Brissett then canned a turnaround jumper from the right elbow and fed Hughes for a three-pointer and a 53-39 lead.

The Red Wolves hung around for the next three minutes of play, surviving the biggest highlight of the day in that time when Frank Howard tossed a perfect fast break alley-oop to Battle for an emphatic dunk, but the Orange tacked on nine more unanswered points to leave the outcome unquestioned.

Brissett scored on a putback, then Battle added two free throws. Brissett swished a three from the left wing to make the lead 20, then Battle scored on a fast break lay-in for a 66-44 advantage with under eight minutes to go.

With under four minutes to go, SU added seven more unanswered points to push the lead to 30 points. Walk-on Ky Feldman closed the game with his first points of the season, connecting on a three-pointer in the final minute to close the scoring.

Tyus Battle and Elijah Hughes topped the Syracuse offense with 17 points apiece. Oshae Brissett just missed a double-double, finishing with 15 points and nine rebounds. Paschal Chukwu came off the bench to pull down a season-high 13 rebounds.

Ty Cockfield paced the Red Wolves with 17 points, including connecting on four three-pointers. Grantham Gilliard chipped in with ten points and J.J. Matthews added nine.

Syracuse is off until Saturday when they will host St. Bonaventure. Not the same team they were last year when they claimed a 60-57 overtime win over the Orange, the Bonnies have dropped their last three games to fall to 4-8.

Five different players average at least eight points per game for St. Bonaventure, led by Courtney Stockard, who has scored at least 16 points in each of his last six games to boost his scoring average to 17.7 points per game. Jalen Poyser (14.4 points per game) and Kyle Lofton (13.9 points per game) also average double digits in scoring for the Bonnies.

Tip-off is set for 2:00pm Eastern. ESPNU will handle the television duties with the game also being available online at ESPN3.com and through the ESPN app.

For more Syracuse coverage, Like our Facebook page and follow us @TheJuiceOnline.

The Juice Online Discussion Forum



Jim Stechschulte
About Jim Stechschulte 550 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, where he currently resides. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by NBA.com. Follow him on Twitter @DSafetyGuy.