Looking to build momentum after a solid win against Miami, the Syracuse Orange hosted former Big East “rival” Pittsburgh at home. Jim Boeheim’s team looked as though it turned the corner with its shortened lineup and better zone defense. The Orange jumped all over Pittsburgh out of the gate and never looked back. The final was 77-66 Syracuse but the chasm was much larger than what the final score might suggest.
Syracuse came out firing on all cylinders from downtown. Collectively, Tyus Battle, Andrew White, Tyler Lydon and John Gillon went 8-16 from three in the first twenty minutes from distance. Syracuse went on an incredible 22-0 run in the first half which gave it a 42-21 lead at intermission.
In the second half Pittsburgh was able to go on a 6-0 run by applying soft pressure after made baskets, but as Syracuse earned stops on the defensive end it was able to get out in transition and continue its hot shooting. Pitt was able to cut into the lead as Syracuse slowed tempo in the half-court, but SU was able to mitigate Pitt with heady defense.
Syracuse finished the day shooting 51.9 percent from the field while holding Pitt to 35.1 percent. Gillon led the way with 20 points and 11 assists while White had 21 on 4-8 shooting from outside. Battle chipped in 15 points and Tyler Roberson had 10 rebounds and 6 blocks.
The Miami win was nice, but the Hurricanes weren’t in the top 50 in terms of RPI. This win should help move the needle further in the right direction as Pitt came into today ranked No. 27 in the country in RPI and had a SOS of 25. This is undoubtedly Syracuse’s biggest win of the season.
With the win Syracuse now moves to 10-6 overall and 2-1 in the ACC. The Orange will now travel to Virginia Tech in what will arguably be its biggest challenge of the season (see: Wisconsin). That game tips at 7 pm on Tuesday from Blacksburg.