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.
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.