Here are our takeaways:
Syracuse offense is Tyus Battle; Tyus Battle is Syracuse offense
Per usual, the Syracuse offense was stagnant. Tyus Battle would make sure that it wouldn’t matter. Battle lifted the Orange with his 31 points on 11-17 from the field and 4-8 from three. He did most of his damage in isolation as just two of his 11 field goals were assisted on.
Tyus continued to effectively distribute the ball, as well. As the defense keyed in on him, he would pitch the ball out and find his teammates for open looks. He had five assists in the first half and finished the night with six.
Buddy Boeheim emerging
Buddy Boeheim shot 3-5 from beyond the arc and 5-7 overall en route to a 13 point performance. Buddy is emerging as a consistent three-point shooting threat which was expected of him but wasn’t nearly the case earlier this season. The freshman is 15-29 from three in ACC competition after having shot 5-32 from three in non-conference play.
Buddy has also been solid defensively and even had a nifty steal that led to a layup on the other end. He’s moving his feet better and reacting quicker which has made him a reliable player for Jim Boeheim to use off the bench.
Point guard duties are fully split
Frank Howard played just 21 minutes and was on the bench late in the second half as Tyus Battle ran the point for Syracuse. Buddy Boeheim played shooting guard in Howard’s absence. With the entire Syracuse offense dependent on and running through Tyus Battle, Jim Boeheim likely thought that his son would be a greater three-point threat for Battle to pass to and would space the floor more than Howard would.
Frank Howard had a fine night with 9 points on 4-7 shooting, but Battle was in charge tonight and there was no reason to take the ball out of his hands. When commenting on the point guard situation in his post-game press conference, Jim Boeheim said (via Syracuse.com) “Tyus was just better with the ball at the point.”
Center position was a void
Paschal Chukwu was not locked in defensively for Syracuse, Bourama Sidibe let opponents past him and Marek Dolezaj was fine. When Chukwu isn’t engaged defensively, Syracuse’s only hope for production at the position is Marek Dolezaj. Jim Boeheim is insistent on not putting Dolezaj in the position for extended periods of time, but the Syracuse offense is significantly better when he is at the center position. If Chukwu isn’t performing to his capabilities on defense, the team isn’t gaining anything from him on the floor.
Chukwu attempted just one shot tonight in his 28 minutes and pulled down four rebounds. Dolezaj recorded three points and four rebounds in his 22 minutes (six at center).
Syracuse’s defensive rotations were slow for the second straight game. Boston College was able to swing the ball around the perimeter and find open looks while the Orange struggled to recover. The Orange were collapsing when the the Eagles penetrated the zone via dribbling or passing. Boston College shot just 9-22 from the three-point line, but the team is in the bottom-third in the country in three-point shooting. The percentage BC shot does not speak to the quality of looks that it had.
Jim Boeheim noted the struggles in his post-game press conference following the Virginia Tech game and again following the Boston College game. The team is going to need to figure out its defensive struggles as the schedule gets much tougher moving forward.