Syracuse used an 18-2 run to close the first half, giving themselves a big enough cushion to withstand a late flurry of threes and hold off Arizona State for a 92-84 win in the Battle 4 Atlantis. The Orange (3-2) led by 18 points at the intermission, but the Sun Devils (2-4) got back within seven points through a combination of hitting 11 threes and their press before falling short.
ASU’s late rally obscured Syracuse’s excellent offensive performance on the night. SU shot 54.1 percent overall and 42.1 percent from deep as all five starters reached double figures.
Buddy Boeheim led the charge with 23 points, including 17 in the first half, but was backed by a surprising source. Center Jesse Edwards had far and away his best game for the Orange, scoring 15 of his 21 points in the second half.
Cole Swider seemed to shake out of his funk, hitting his last four three-point attempts as he poured in 19 points and grabbed 11 boards. Jimmy Boeheim and Joe Girard III each added 11 points.
While SU got a balanced offensive attack, their strong defense in the final six minutes and change of the first half paved the way to victory. Arizona State simply went ice cold leading to halftime, missing all eight of their three-point attempts as part of a 1-for-12 shooting slump.
Syracuse exploited that cold snap, getting a pair of dunks and back-to-back triples from Swider for the bulk of 11 straight markers. After the Sun Devils got their lone bucket in that time, the Orange closed the half with seven straight points for a 48-30 lead at intermission.
SU was able to keep Arizona State at arm’s distance for most of the half, not allowing them within 11 points until there was 7:23 remaining in the game. The Orange responded to that threat, pushing the lead out to 14 points on three occasions.
ASU would eventually get within seven points on a pair of triples, but they would get no closer, as Syracuse got three-point plays from Edwards and Swider to keep the Sun Devils at bay.
- While he exploded on offense in the second half, Jesse Edwards played 15:05 in the first half against the Sun Devils after being limited by foul trouble to 15:11 in the previous day’s loss to VCU. While he had a modest impression on the stat sheet in the opening half with six points, two boards, and one block, Edwards also drew a charge as part of making a significant difference for the SU defense.
- When Edwards returned to the floor after getting some first half rest, ASU missed eight straight shots, allowing the Orange to stretch their lead to 13 late in the first half. The Sun Devils ended up 1-of-12 from the field to close the session, including missing eight hoists from beyond the arc, and SU’s lead ballooned to 48-30 at the break.
- Cole Swider broke his cold three-point shooting streak with back-to-back treys with under five minutes left in first half, part of an eight-point, seven-rebound effort in the session. Swider added another three and a fadeaway jumper in the key early in the second half, then tacked on his fourth consecutive three with just under four minutes to go.
- Buddy Boeheim almost single-handedly kept SU even with the Sun Devils early, pouring in 14 points in the first 11 minutes of play. Boeheim would finish with 17 points in the opening half, 14 points coming inside the arc.
- The Orange again had problems dealing with full-court pressure, including turning the ball over three times in an 18-second span in the final 80 seconds of play, once by each of the three guards to play – Buddy Boeheim, Joe Girard III, and Symir Torrence. SU was fortunate to only give up a single point as a result of those miscues.
- Syracuse finishes out their appearance in the Battle 4 Atlantis with a matchup in the fifth-place game against #19 Auburn on Friday. The Tigers (4-1) defeated Loyola-Chicago, 62-53, to advance on Thursday.
- K.D. Johnson paces the Tigers with 15.8 points per game and has connected on 44.0 percent of his shots from three-point range. Jabari Smith averages 15.2 points and 7.2 rebounds while Wendell Green Jr posts 12.6 points per outing and North Carolina transfer Walker Kessler 8.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 3.2 blocks per game.
- Friday’s action will start at 4:30pm Eastern and the game will be televised on ESPN2.