Instant Juice: Syracuse 65, Pittsburgh 56

Feb 2, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers guard Trey McGowens (2) shoots between Syracuse Orange center Paschal Chukwu (13) and forward Elijah Hughes (33) during the first half at the Petersen Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH – A quick take on Syracuse’s 65-56 win over Pittsburgh, in front of a near sell out and loud “Oakland Zoo” crowd at the Petersen Events Center on the Pitt campus Saturday evening:

WHAT HAPPENED: The Orange finished the halfway portion of ACC play with an impressive seven victories after beating the Panthers for the second time in two weeks.  Syracuse (16-6, 7-2) led throughout frustrating the Pitt (12-10, 2-7) offense from the outside and underneath, while spreading out the scoring among the top eight ‘Cuse players. Pitt rallied to cut the lead to three with 13:00 to play, but Frank Howard (15 points) hit a couple of jumpers to give the Orange enough cushion to hold on and win.

» Related: Upcoming road games critical to Syracuse’s season

ANALYSIS: Despite leading scorer Tyus Battle struggling with his shot, going just 2-for13, SU’s big men came to play. Pascal Chukwu (10 points, eight rebounds) and Oshae Brissett were strong around the basket, and SU had 26 points in the paint. While Battle didn’t have his usual offensive flair, he did find open teammates for points finishing with five assists and setting up Howard late.

HERO: Brissett stepped up with a double-double performance, active around the rim at both ends, finishing with a game-high 18 points and 12 rebounds.

ZERO: Syracuse struggled in the second half scoring just 30 points, having trouble at times with the Pittsburgh man defense, but had enough to turn away the young Panthers in the end because of veteran players Battle and Howard.

WHAT’S NEXT: After the three game road swing, Syracuse returns home to the Dome Tuesday night, Feb. 5, to face current No. 25 ranked Florida State.  The Seminoles (16-5, 4-4) won their third straight game Saturday at home against Georgia Tech 59-49.  Game Time:  8:00 p.m. ET / TV: ACC Network.

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About Brad Bierman 848 Articles
Now in his sixth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.