Two games down, and two wins for the Syracuse Orange. The Orange moved to 2-0 with a 71-62 win over Iona this past Tuesday, but Syracuse will be looking to continue this "perfect" start with another victory over the Texas Southern Tigers this Saturday in the Carrier Dome.
Syracuse got a career night from Tyus Battle against Iona where he dropped a career high 28 points in the win. The Tigers come into this contest still winless after falling in their first three games, but all to major programs — Gonzaga, Washington State and Ohio State.
Can the Orange get it done again? Here are five things to watch for this matchup:
Can Frank Howard limit the turnovers?
It was a successful game for Howard who gave the Orange the scoring they need from their No. 2 guy. Howard finished with 15 points and four assists, however, the junior point guard added five turnovers to that stat line.
Sure, playing 40 minutes is a challenge, but Syracuse needs their veteran point guard to run the offense without giving the ball over if they want to reach the heights they are capable of. Howard has looked confident and composed in this young season, but another high turnover performance won't get the job done this time around.
Can Syracuse defend the three?
If you watched Syracuse's last game, you would know that Iona was in it ‘til the end due to their three-point shooting. The Orange were contesting their shots well, but there were lapses at times where they left the hot shooting Gaels open from deep.
The Tigers have their fair share of three-point shooters who like to put them up in bunches. Against Washington State, they had four players hit at least three from beyond the arc — the most notable performer being Demontrae Jefferson, the team's leading scorer. The Orange need to make sure they get out on these shooters, or else they'll give their fans another stressful two halves of basketball.
Oshae Brissett's slow starts
The Orange's top recruit has shown flashes of excellence in just two games, but slow starts in both outings have held him back from a breakout performance. Brissett has started off both games struggling to get his shot going, though once he eases into the pace of the game, Syracuse fans are able to see what he brings to this team. Fans shouldn't be worried about their top freshmen, but coach Jim Boeheim needs to see more from Brissett early in this contest.
How will Tyus Battle top his last performance?
With the game still in the balance late in the second half, Tyus Battle decided to take it over. Battle went on a scoring spree in the win over Iona, finishing with 28 points in a monster performance. Battle used his aggressive driving abilities to finish around the rim, while also knocking down the midrange and three-point shot. The Orange are going to need big scoring nights out of their star sophomore, but can Battle make it another career night this Saturday?
Where is Howard Washington?
After struggling to get in a rhythm in the opener, Washington didn't play in the close win against Iona. Even in his struggling debut, Washington showed he has a high basketball IQ and can make the right pass at the right time. However, Coach Boeheim decided to get the win without his freshman point guard, but will that change this time around? Or, is this a sign of a rotation being formed in the very early going?