Tyus Battle’s aggressiveness provides dagger for Syracuse in 67-56 win over Boston College

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Yet on Saturday, the Eagles often struggled to pull within single digits. Each shot was matched on the other end by the Orange, and early in the second half, Popovic suffered an injury. He had to be helped off the court — taken into the locker room never to return. BC lost its third-leading scorer and starting center, which gave SU more room to operate. Syracuse’s defense continued to be active inside the zone, poking away passes and pushing transition off missed Boston College shots. That’s when Battle took over.“We got out on the break,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said. “Tyus in the open court is really good.”Alexandra Moreo | Senior Staff PhotographerThroughout the entire season, there have been moments were Battle gets into the zone. The offense begins to strictly run through the junior and he accounts for the majority of the points scored. Normally, it comes in transition, where he’s most comfortable.While pushing transition, if he sees two or fewer players, he said he’s confident enough to be aggressive and finish around the basket. It should ultimately result in an easy bucket or foul. “It’s nothing special honestly,” Battle said.Battle’s takeover has been seen time and time again. It happened in the first half against then-No. 1 Duke, where Battle scored 20 to keep the Orange within striking distance in an eventual upset over the Blue Devils. Then in SU’s first matchup against Boston College on the road, Battle scored 21 second-half points on 70 percent shooting.“He doesn’t say anything,” senior point guard Frank Howard said, “but you know to get the hell out the way and watch him work. You just want to give him the ball.”This time, against the same Eagles team, Battle’s takeover came with just under 11 minutes left. Nearly two minutes after his and-1 that ignited the Dome crowd, Battle poked the ball free and found himself all alone in transition. He slammed it home before shuffling back to defend the next possession.“I just try to be aggressive,” said Battle, who scored 15 second-half points. “When you stay aggressive the entire game, you’re going to get going at some point.”Once grabbing a long rebound or stealing the ball, Battle said the entire team looked to push the tempo. He was the point guard during a 13-3 Syracuse run, as Howard looked on from the bench. The Orange’s scoring stretch primarily came at the hands of Battle, who scored all but two points in that time. He made all three free throws and added an alley-oop dunk from Elijah Hughes in the fast break. In a three-minute span, Battle took control, and SU was up 20.Boston College would fight its way back behind Bowman’s 21 points. The 6-foot-1 junior kept on shooting 3s, and success followed suit. With just under four minutes left, Bowman, who shot 70 percent from the field, nailed a left corner 3 and motioned a bow-and-arrow in the air.The lead  slowly simmered to a two-possession game. SU had not scored since Battle’s takeover while Boston College poured in 14-straight points. Marek Dolezaj fouled out minutes later, as the Eagles kept on fighting, down eight with under two minutes remaining. Jordan Chatman stepped to the line with a chance to cut the BC deficit to six. Instead, he missed both.The Eagles comeback had all of a sudden been deflated. For the last 8:15 of game time, the Orange did not convert a single field goal.It didn’t matter. Battle’s three-minute takeover proved just enough. Tyus Battle pushed transition and drove into the paint, taking a quick step before slicing between Boston College’s Jared Hamilton and Steffon Mitchell. Midway through the second half and Syracuse up 10, Battle finished through contact.The Carrier Dome crowd erupted as Battle let his arms fall to his side. He looked toward the student section and let out a quick smirk before returning to the free-throw line.Just four days after being blown out on its home court, Syracuse bounced back against a lesser conference opponent. The Orange (17-7, 8-3 Atlantic Coast) led by double digits throughout the majority of the second half, taking complete control in a 67-56 win over the Eagles (11-11, 2-8) in front of 26,011 fans on Saturday afternoon inside the Carrier Dome. And per usual, it was Battle guiding the Syracuse offense, finishing with a team-high 21 points.“I just tell (Battle) when he gets a couple, ‘Just go,’” said freshman Buddy Boeheim, who scored 16 points in the win. “‘Don’t even think about passing unless you have to.’ If he gets going, it’s very likely he’s going to keep it going and score 10, 12 in a bunch.”This was a different Orange team than the one in an 18-point blowout loss to No. 22 Florida State. Ball movement was limited then. The offense struggled. The defense was filled with holes, as an inconsistent-shooting Seminole team shot at a 50-percent clip from 3. The loss put even more pressure on the Orange ahead of Saturday’s matchup.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textOn the bubble for the NCAA Tournament, and with its hardest stretch of the season quickly approaching, sweeping Boston College became a must.Unlike the first matchup between Syracuse and Boston College, where the Eagles came out of the gate hot, neither team could finish. BC star Ky Bowman sat on the sideline, benched for a “minor, internal team issue,” head coach Jim Christian released in a statement before the game. SU’s defense dominated in that time Bowman sat on the bench, as the Eagles missed all 10 shots.After a quick pair of buckets, Bowman was limited the rest of the first half. Nik Popovic, operating in the high post, threw the ball away twice. The Eagles shot 11 percent from 3 in the first half and didn’t score a single point off of turnovers. SU had 10. The Orange would end up dominating the Eagles in points off turnovers, 25-5. The Boston College first-half woes continued into the latter frame. It was the same team that shot 46.7 percent from the field and 40.9 percent from 3, keeping it close in the first matchup between the two. Comments Published on February 9, 2019 at 4:14 pm Contact Charlie: [email protected] | @charliedisturcolast_img

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