The cold offense returned for the Syracuse Orange in the first half, but they were able to get a much needed road win against the Miami Hurricanes by the score of 62-55 to give the Syracuse faithful a little hope moving forward.
The Orange didn’t get their first bucket until the final play before the under 16-minute timeout, but their defense returned to its dominating form, contesting shots inside and forcing turnovers off of errant passes. The Hurricanes finished the first half with six turnovers, as the length at the top of the zone proved too much to handle.
With the defense looking strong again, holding Miami to 32 percent from the field in the first half, the Orange needed to find some offense to build themselves a lead—but that didn’t happen. Frank Howard and Tyus Battle combined for 11 points on 5-of-17 shooting from the field in the first half, but the Orange were able to rely on Oshae Brissett again to carry the load.
Brissett nearly had a double double in the first half, finishing with nine points and seven rebounds (finished the game with 16 points and 12 rebounds). His ability to get to the rim helped him get in a rhythm, and his posterizing dunk capped off an impressive half. A late 7-0 run by the Hurricanes got rid of the Syracuse lead, as the two sides went to the half tied at 25.
The Orange looked like a different team in the second half, as Howard came out aggressive and eager to score the ball. The pace of play started to increase for the Orange, which allowed them to get easy looks around the rim, opening up the perimeter for open threes.
A 15-0 run gave the Orange a 40-28 lead, as Marek Dolezaj started to reap the benefits of Howard’s dribble penetration. However, the offense returned to its inconsistent ways, and Miami was able to get out in transition and tie the game at 43.
Instead of panicking, Howard regained control of the game, and gave the Orange some breathing room. The stifling Syracuse defense gave them the support they needed, forcing Miami to settle for deep threes as they finished the game shooting 7-of-31 from deep.
Winning this game doesn’t fix the issues this team has, but it does restore hope that the Orange might find a way into the Big Dance. Next up for this 18-9 (7-7) Syracuse team is North Carolina, in a game that could give the Orange some breathing room on the bubble.