The Syracuse Orange needed to show some improvement after a week long break, and they sure did in this one as they beat the Boston College Eagles by a score of 81-63. The lack of scoring has been the story all season long, but the Syracuse “big three” had it going tonight as they started to see some success from their perimeter shooting.
The big concern for the Orange coming into this one was Boston College’s ability to get hot from deep—that worry became a reality in the early stages of the first half. The Eagles started the game 5-5 from the field, 4-4 from deep, as it looked like Syracuse was going to be in some real trouble.
With the Eagles scorching on offense, the Orange needed to find some scoring of their own if they wanted to avoid this one getting out of hand—insert Osahe Brissett. The freshman forward has struggled with his shooting all year long, but tonight he finally found his stroke from deep; Brissett was hitting step back threes and midrange jumpers on his way to a 12 point first half, as he gave them the scoring they needed to match Boston College’s hot start.
Brissett didn’t do it on his own as he got help from Frank Howard who got red hot from deep. Howard has shown an improved jump shot this year, but his ability to win isolation situations helped him in this one. Howard’s hot shooting gave him a game high 16 points in the first half, as the Orange took a 47-37 lead going into the break.
The one downside in the first half was Matthew Moyer’s early injury that was ruled a sprained ankle and is going to be evaluated tomorrow.
The offensive success carried over to start the second half as the Orange followed an Eagles’ three with a 7-0 run. It isn’t a Syracuse basketball game without some Tyus Battle action, and his typical second half success showed up again with 15 of his game high 24 points coming in the second frame.
The “big three” showed up in a massive way in this one (55 combined), but they also got much needed support from Paschal Chukwu and Marek Dolezaj who contributed on both ends of the floor. Chukwu played his size for all 40 minutes of the game as he brought down seven rebounds to go along with his 14 points and two blocks.
The Orange needed a good outing from Dolezaj after the early injury to Moyer, and they got arguably his best game yet. The freshman forward nearly finished with a double double as he scored 12 points as well as grabbing 8 rebounds. Syracuse needs Dolezaj to continue to do the little things that make him such a special player.
The Orange simply looked like a different team throughout this entire game, as they were active on defense which led to easy shots in transition. This team won’t shoot this well every night, but they are certainty dangerous when a few made threes can create open driving lanes for Battle, Howard, and Brissett.
Syracuse solved part of their offensive problems in this one, but they won’t be able to depend on their shooting every night. This team needs to continue to penetrate the lane as often as they can, because when they do, they truly become a legitimate offensive threat. Their next test will be on the road this Saturday as they look to get another win against the Pittsburgh Panthers.