Syracuse offense scores more efficiently than Virginia Tech’s top offense in 68-56 win

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on December 31, 2017 at 10:52 pm Contact Billy: wmheyen@syr.edu | @Wheyen3 With just under four minutes remaining in the first half on Sunday, the ball was batted around in the Syracuse offensive half. Bodies hit the floor and SU’s Marek Dolezaj dove and won the ball. From his backside, he kicked it out to Frank Howard on the right wing, who sent a skip pass to Tyus Battle on the left. Battle canned the three to put the Orange up 11. It was just the kind of offense Syracuse needed against a high-powered Virginia Tech.“Marek’s stats don’t show it, but he was really good,” Jim Boeheim said.On New Year’s Eve at the Carrier Dome, it was Syracuse (12-2, 1-0 Atlantic Coast) shooting a better percentage than one of the nation’s best offenses, Virginia Tech (11-3, 0-1), in its 68-56 win. The Hokies entered the game shooting 54.5 percent from the field. But SU shot 48.9 percent from the floor compared to VT’s 34.6 percent in the victory.Three of the first four buckets of the game came from the Orange as the Hokies struggled to find open looks. The first came from Oshae Brissett going up strong on an attempt from the right block. The next was courtesy of Matthew Moyer after an offensive rebound. And the third was scored by Tyus Battle, driving toward the basket, on a floater. The common theme: all three featured an SU player getting to the rim.“We’re the do-whatever-it-takes team,” Howard said. “Whatever it takes, we’re gonna try to do it.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textEvery pregame number suggested Syracuse wouldn’t outshoot Virginia Tech from deep. As expected, SU didn’t outshoot VT from beyond. Syracuse shot the same percentage (33), with the Hokies making twice as many (10-5), but the Orange made 3s when it had to, like the Battle three in the first half and his backbreaking deep ball in the second half to put SU up 14.But it was inside the arc where the difference came for Syracuse. For the game, SU finished at 56.3 percent on 2s. The Hokies were just 36.4 percent from inside the 3-point line.“Some games we don’t have good shooting games, but I know we have good shooters,” Howard said. “… Just gotta find our groove and our rhythm.”Just past the midway point of the first half, Howard drove right. He planted his feet with a bit of a pump fake, stepped through towards the basket and around his defender with his right foot, leaned in to take some contact and elevated to swish a righty jumper.Battle didn’t waste any time the next trip down the floor, as he brought the ball up after VT threw the ball away, used a screen from Dolezaj, drove a few dribbles left and rose to knock down a free-throw line jumper for two of his 17 points.After the Hokies offense seemed to have awoken, two big 2-point baskets led to Battle’s dagger 3 that put SU up 14. On the second, Battle ignored a screen to drive left and instead drove right, towards the baseline. From the other corner, Matthew Moyer crashed towards the basket. Battle fed Moyer for a huge dunk that put the Carrier Dome on the verge of pandemonium.“That sequence was … one of the most momentum-changing sequences I’ve seen or been a part of,” Moyer said.Without the two easy 2s before Battle’s 3, the 3-pointer wouldn’t have meant as much. With them, it meant plenty.Virginia Tech wasn’t going anywhere and Syracuse had to keep getting to the basket to hold off the Hokies. Brissett got another basket in the post on a baby right hook to get to his final total of 19. Dolezaj set up Moyer for another finish at the rim, albeit a tame lay-in this time. Moyer got another slam soon enough when Battle set him up for a dunk off another cut with about two and a half minutes left to put SU up 20.“We have so many guys that can step up on a given night,” Battle said. “And I know I don’t have any pressure to make something happen or do something special here.”That second Moyer dunk was Syracuse’s last field goal of the contest. The redshirt freshman Moyer is prone to a post-dunk fist pump or two. But on that finish, he just ran back down the floor. There was still a potent offense to shut down. Commentslast_img

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