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Even on a quiet night, Tyus Battle delivered when Syracuse needed it most


NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Clemson
Syracuse Orange guard Tyus Battle (25) drives to the basket while being defended by Clemson Tigers guard Avry Holmes (12) during the first half as Littlejohn Coliseum.
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

What a shot. What a game.

As time expired, freshman Tyus Battle delivered like no one expected, or thought, he would on Tuesday night. Battle was quiet up until the final shot of the game. He had just three points and wasn’t much of a factor all night in any way.

And then he marked his territory in SU history.

Sophomore Tyler Lydon drove towards the basket with the Orange down 81-79 and the clock under three seconds — and it happened.

Lydon kicked it to Battle on the wing and he hit the biggest shot of his career — a 3-pointer as time expired to give the Orange its fifth straight victory.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Clemson Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Up until this point, Battle had just three points on 1-of-6 shooting in 32 minutes. But it’s the final shot of the game that anyone will remember.

“The play was supposed to be for Tyler (Lydon) to either come up for three or drive to the basket,” Battle said afterwards. “But they weren’t on me so I knocked down the shot.”

Lydon, who had 17 points leading up to the final possession, initiated contact with a Clemson defender before kicking it out to Battle. It was the right no-call, and Battle hit the shot.

“I mean, I knew (my shot) was going to have to fall at some time,” he said. “The play before I missed a wide-open layup.”

This win gave the Orange its second road victory of the season and its fifth straight overall. Syracuse, which was once 3-4 in league play, is now 8-4 and sitting alone in third place in the ACC.

“We’re really confident right now,” Battle said. “We just all bought in. We’re trying to make a tournament push right now.”

While Battle was struggling, his teammates picked him up. Andrew White scored 23 points, Lydon finished with 17, Taurean Thompson had 14 and John Gillon added 13 — but it’s Battle’s shot that everyone will remember.

“I thought it was a great basketball game,” Jim Boeheim said afterward. “Down the stretch, I thought we got great shots. We kept playing. The last play we wanted to spread it out. We saw the center was playing Tyus, so we wanted to go to the basket. I mean, he got a wide open shot. He didn’t have a great night tonight. When he caught it, I thought he was going to make it.”

The Orange, now 16-9 on the season, travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Panthers this Saturday at 1 p.m. ET. SU won the first matchup between the two teams earlier this season, 77-66.