The Syracuse Orange responded to their disappointing loss at Boston College with an impressive win against the number 18 ranked Clemson Tigers by the score of ___. It wasn’t easy, but the Orange’s aggression on offense was enough to send them into the ACC Tournament with a marquee win.
After a peculiar start to the game that included a Frank Howard turnover and a coach Jim Boeheim timeout just 27 seconds into the game, the Orange turned on the jets and went into full force attack mode.
With the crowd eager to see Marek Dolezaj play more aggressively, the freshman forward looked to score off of pick and rolls and dribble drives—he even had a nice spin move for a layup. Dolezaj finished the half with a team high seven points on 3-5 shooting.
However, this successful offense attack didn’t last long, as the Orange struggled to hit their perimeter shots, finishing the half 2-9 from deep. Tyus Battle wasn’t himself in the first half, as he only finished with three points on 1-6 shooting.
Syracuse’s dominant defense returned to its form, holding the Tigers to 35% shooting from the field in the first half. The Orange were able to control Clemson’s perimeter players, but they struggled to control the interior. Clemson forward Elijah Thomas dominated the paint in the first half, as he finished with nine first half free throw attempts to help him finish the first frame with nine points.
Syracuse had the lead for the better part of the first half, but their stagnant offense gave it away at the end of the half, as the Tigers took a 25-22 lead into halftime.
The second half was a different story, as the Tyus Battle version we have seen all year long returned. Battle scored the first eight points of the half for the Orange, eventually tying the game at 30 with a vintage floater that gave him his 1000th point as an Orangeman.
The Orange took the lead on a Brissett and-one finish, and they continued to poor it on the Tigers with aggressive drives. Marcquise Reed got it going from deep to keep the Tigers within striking distance, and eventually tied it back up at 43 a apiece, as the Syracuse offense went back to being stagnant.
The game became a back and forth fest, until Paschal Chukwu had two blocks in one possession, the latter one going well into the stands. Brissett answered the block with a successful trip at the charity strike, but Reed punished the Orange from deep again, giving them the one-point lead.
It became a free throw battle for the Orange, and surprisingly they came out on top of it. Syracuse made some clutch free throws to have the 54-52 lead with under 30 seconds to go, but it was Brissett’s third block of the game that gave Syracuse a much needed top 25 win.
Up next is the ACC Tournament, where the Orange will likely need a couple wins to squeak into the big dance.