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Syracuse’s young team took major step forward with win vs. Georgetown

The Orange overcame a 13-point second-half deficit to improve to 9-1.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Georgetown Art Pittman-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday’s 86-79 overtime victory of Georgetown (8-1) is something this Syracuse basketball team needed — and got — as they attack the rest of their non-conference schedule before diving into ACC play in the beginning of 2018.

Georgetown won’t turn many heads this season. Their non-conference schedule is the worst in the country and they haven’t beaten anyone credible. ESPN’s Jeff Goodman makes it a point to comment on their schedule every night the Hoyas take the floor. He’s called it arguably the worst non-conference schedule in the history of college basketball.

But as for Saturday, the seven-point overtime victory was about the Orange and what it means moving forward.

Syracuse has been in some tight games this season, and won all of them. The lone loss was to then-No. 2 Kansas, and the game was never truly close.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Georgetown Art Pittman-USA TODAY Sports

But Jim Boeheim’s young team never quit on Saturday. There were plenty of opportunities for them to do so, but the youth, mixed in with a few veterans, never gave up.

Tyus Battle led all scorers with 29 points, while freshman Oshae Brissett had a performance he’ll never forget.

The Canadian scored a career-high 25 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the win. He hit four 3-pointers and played all 45 minutes.

Frank Howard returned to the DMV area and proved to be big for the Orange. Despite his seven turnovers, which was a game-high, Howard scored 18 points and dished out nine assists in 44 minutes. He had a huge steal and game-tying layup late in the second half which ultimately helped SU force overtime.

Matt Moyer scored six points and grabbed 11 rebounds, while Marek Dolezaj had five points and eight rebounds.

Everyone contributed in one way or another.

With just two juniors who play, and the rest being underclassman — this young team showed everyone they won’t give up. They’ll do whatever it takes and fight for one another on any given night.

It’s something they already knew, but for outsiders to see that — it’s a hell of a sign moving forward.

After scoring just 24 points in the first half, Syracuse put up 62 in the second half and overtime. That, to me, says all you need to know about their mentality.

And credit the veterans. These young guys will follow Howard and Battle’s lead. If those two started to pack it in on Saturday, Syracuse would’ve lost by double digits. But they led by example, kept fighting and the Orange got it done.