Tyus Battle sparks 2nd-half spurt that helps Syracuse pull away from Colgate, 77-56

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments Published on November 21, 2018 at 8:56 pm Contact Billy: wmheyen@syr.edu | @Wheyen3center_img With 16:57 to go on Wednesday, Syracuse trailed by a point to Colgate. Tyus Battle drove down the lane and tried to throw down a tomahawk slam with his right hand. He hit the back rim but was fouled. Battle made both free throws and bobbed his head.“I told him after that, I said, ‘Man, that’s you, that’s what you do,’” SU point guard Frank Howard said. “From the outside looking in, you can say he did change the game. He brings that type of energy with those plays.”On the next trip down the floor, Battle made a pull-up jumper from 12 feet on the right side. He added a few words toward the Colgate defender, and a referee issued a warning for talking. A few minutes later, Battle went down the lane and finished through contact off the glass. Syracuse’s star had awoken, and he went on to save the Orange from a massive upset.Syracuse (3-2) extended its win streak over Colgate (4-2) to 53-straight games in a 77-56 win at the Carrier Dome on Wednesday. Battle rescued the Orange with 16 points in the second half and 24 overall on 8-for-10 shooting. He’d had a rough start to the season, as after leading the Orange in scoring last year, Battle was shooting 40 percent entering the night and more than three points below last season’s average. For one night, though, he made sure Syracuse’s ongoing issues didn’t result in a historic loss.“Tyus was a different player tonight,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said. “He didn’t play the last part of the game and had 24 (points) in 26 minutes. That’s more what we expect from Tyus.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBefore Battle took over, SU’s offensive struggles persisted. Howard, making his season debut, hit his first 3 on Syracuse’s first attempt from deep on Wednesday. But it would be just one of two long-distance shots the Orange hit in the first half, along with one from Battle, as they went 2-for-10 beyond the arc. It continued a season-long trend of struggles from deep after Syracuse entered the game shooting 20.5 percent from 3-point distance.Syracuse’s offense didn’t have much more success near the basket. Five times in the first half, Oshae Brissett brought down offensive rebounds and rose back up for putbacks. All five times, he missed.At the other end, the Orange kept allowing 3s. Will Rayman hit three early from beyond the arc, forcing Jim Boeheim to use an early timeout. By the end of the first half, Colgate was 8-for-23 from deep, and the Raiders trailed by three at the half. “We made some mistakes defensively in the first half,” Boeheim said. “Didn’t cover shooters and they made them. Could’ve been worse.”On Tuesday, Battle watched film of six-year-old games: this year against Morehead State, last year against Duke, Boston College and North Carolina, and his freshman year against Duke and Virginia. Battle was looking for something different about his shot this year since before Wednesday, he was 1-for-11 from 3 after making 77 from distance last year. Battle realized that he wasn’t prepared enough to shoot before he caught the ball.“I was just trying to stay shot ready the whole time tonight,” Battle said.After his first six second-half points, he stepped back from the right wing. He’d made one 3 on the season entering Wednesday, and one more in the first half. He buried this one, his second of the night. Then, he hit a jumper from the left wing for two more.Battle was forced to spend time in Syracuse’s first four games running the point with Howard out. Boeheim felt that hurt Battle’s rhythm, taking him out of some of the spots he normally thrives in. But Howard, who said “my number one job is to get these guys the ball,” saw Battle heating up. And because the junior was playing off the ball, Howard could feed him in the best spots to get buckets.“He’s much more comfortable at the 2, and we’re glad to get him back there,” Boeheim said.Battle’s burst seemed to awaken his fellow scorers, Brissett finished a 3-point play and Elijah Hughes hit two 3s. All of a sudden, the Orange were up 17, a long way from the first-half woes.Before Battle had heated up, he’d missed two free throws and grimaced in frustration. After, Syracuse showed the ability that had it open the season ranked No. 16 in the country, going on a 37-10 run from his first free throw until 4:00 remained in the game.The first half showed issues that Syracuse will have to clear up when it plays at Ohio State in a week. But Battle made sure none of those mattered in the second half. He started a big enough run that for the final 7:05, he could just sit on Syracuse’s bench and watch. He turned a barnburner into a blowout.“You’re gonna go through some slumps sometimes,” Battle said. “But you gotta stay confident, gotta keep on taking it. You work too hard to stop shooting.” last_img read more