The Syracuse Orange took down Boston College on the road last night to move to 15-6 overall and 6-2 in the ACC. Tyus Battle led the way with 31 points and he did most of his damage by playing point guard in the second half.
Senior point guard Frank Howard started the game at point. He picked up two early fouls, but scored 9 first half points while also grabbing a rebound and a steal. Howard also started the second half and assisted on a Battle bucket, but he sat before the second media timeout and never returned to the game. Howard played just 21 minutes.
Boeheim was asked by Syracuse.com’s Donna Ditota after the game why he made the move to put Battle at the point.
“Well if he has it in his hands somebody else can’t screw it up,” Boeheim said.
When Howard was on the bench in the first half, Buddy Boehiem scored eight first half points by knocking down two threes and a floater. Both threes were assisted on by Battle.
This isn’t necessarily anything new as Battle has played point before his time at Syracuse. He also played it earlier in the season when Howard was out with an ankle injury, and he played the one at Duke in the first half, too.
“He beat Duke from the point and he won this game from the point. He played the point earlier in the year, we’ve simplified it when he has the ball. It’s pretty much ball screen stuff. He’s pretty good at finding people. He got Buddy for a wide open shot. That was a big shot,” Boeheim said.
Battle went on to score 18 of his 31 points in the game’s final 16 minutes from the lead guard position. At Duke, we saw something similar as Battle immediately brought Syracuse back from the brink after falling down 12-0 in Cameron Indoor Stadium. After that game, he said he’s used to playing the one and that he’d played the point prior to Syracuse.
It’s not as if Howard played poorly. He had 9 first half points on a pair of long twos, a floater and three while only missing two shots in the first half. Boeheim said that Battle is just better at the point.
“Frank was playing well,” Boeheim suggested. “He’s upset. You know, I’d be upset if I was a senior too. But Tyus is just better at the ball at the point and he made plays.
Boehiem also said that he thinks there will be some games Buddy can help and some games he won’t be able to. He said Howard and Battle will still suck up most of the minutes at guard moving forward. Jalen Carey did not play against Boston College. It was his third DNP of the season.