The Syracuse Orange (14-5, 5-1) picked up their third straight win as they defeated the Miami Hurricanes, 73-53 on Thursday night. After leading by just three points at halftime, Syracuse’s defense locked in and their three-point shooters heated up. The Orange outscored the Hurricanes by 17 points in the second half.
Here are our big takeaways:
It’s Elijah Hughes’s world
After a quiet game against Pittsburgh, Elijah Hughes lit up Miami to the tune of 22 points. He shot 6 of 9 from three and 8 of 13 overall. His teammates were finding him for open shot after open shot, and Hughes kept delivering. The ECU transfer also delivered on the defensive end with three steals and three blocks including a highlight block of Miami’s Zach Johnson’s aggressive attempt at the rim.
Tyus Battle the facilitator?
Battle showed a new facet of his game as he dished out nine assists to go along with his 10 points. When Miami decided to show zone, Battle made them pay by attacking the gaps and dishing to find open shooters. As our own Bobby recently wrote, Battle has been taking on a heavier load of the point guard play over the last few games for the Orange and the team has been better because of it. Battle’s nine assists were his career high at Syracuse.
Buddy Boeheim becoming a consistent threat
Buddy drained 3 of 6 from outside as he tied his second-highest scoring total of the season at 12 points. After Syracuse struggle in the beginning of the first half, the team picked up its play once Boeheim checked in. Buddy hit all of his three-pointers in the span of about three minutes of the first half, and relieved the pressure Miami’s defense was beginning to mount on what was a stagnant Syracuse offense. The freshman is shooting 14 of 22 from three-point territory since the start of ACC competition.
Syracuse’s centers reverted to their early-season struggles in the first half, but Paschal Chukwu’s impressive performance in the second half helped Syracuse limit Miami to just 24 points in the second half. After posting three blocks in consecutive games, Chukwu totaled another five against the ‘Canes. The 7’2” big man had his work cut out for him against a formidable opponent in Ebuka Izundu, but Chukwu rose to the occasion to help the Orange clamp down on the defensive end.
The ball is moving
Syracuse totaled a season-high 22 assists against Miami. Battle led the way with nine and Marek Dolezaj pitched in five of his own. The Orange were able to effectively penetrate the Miami’s zone both with dribble drives and with passes in order to kick out and find shooters for open threes.
Dolezaj now has three or more assists in five of his last seven games and has become a spark for the Syracuse offense. His court awareness and ability to lead shooters to open areas has lifted the Orange offense as of late.
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