0 Comments Published on 2.10.2017 by John Brennan
Syracuse has been one of the hottest teams in the ACC -- maybe even the country -- over the last few weeks. Wins over ranked opponents Florida State and Virginia, a road win, and renewed NCAA Tournament talk have put Syracuse back on the map. Tuesday night in Clemson, Syracuse faced a team similar to itself -- a team probably sitting on the bubble (and probably the right side of it) -- which made the game an important resume game for both teams. Maybe moreso for Syracuse, because it would be another quality road win. Finding itself in another double digit hole, the Orange clawed back, and with a Tyler Lydon kickout to Tyus Battle on the wing for a 3-point basket as time expired, Syracuse ended victorious, 82-81.
- Andrew White continues to impress offensively. In this game, he was 8-20 for 23 points (including 5-12 from three), five rebounds, and a steal in all 40 minutes.
- Syracuse had two other full-gamers: Tyler Lydon (17 points, 7-12 shooting with nine rebounds), and John Gillon (13 points, 2-5 shooting, a perfect 7-7 from the line, and eight assists).
- Taurean Thompson made the most of his minutes, offensively: 14 points on 6-8 shooting, four rebounds (three offensive) in only 17 minutes. Until the defense improves, Taurean will see limited minutes.
- That, of course, paves the way for more Tyler Roberson minutes. He had 22 minutes on Tuesday, with a solid six points and seven rebounds. If he could be the type of scorer Taurean is, he'd not only start games, but he'd play the majority of the minutes. Until then, it'll have to be a rotation.
- Frank Howard also got some minutes,
- But that leaves us to talk about Tyus Battle. He played 33 minutes, but was largely invisible: six points (on two threes made), one rebound, a couple turnovers, and a couple fouls. But I think it was his invisibility that allowed Syracuse to win this game. Driving up the floor with time running down, Tyler Lydon was to take the pass from Gillon and then shoot it up. But Clemson had that covered. Meanwhile, Battle set up on the wing and was wide open. Sensing the coverage, but recognizing Battle's position, Lydon kicked it over to Battle, who put up a shot from beyond the arc with just enough time for the ball to pass through the hoop as time expired. The rest, as you know, is history.
- Both teams shot well (Syracuse 50.9%, Clemson 53.7%) in a game where neither team's defense excelled at getting stops. Usually, scoreless possessions were due to turnovers or the occasional bad shot. This game almost seemed destined to end on a buzzer-beater.
- Syracuse won the rebounding battle, 33-24, and was able to limit Clemson to zero second chance points. Zero. Of course, that's a combination of Syracuse rebounding, and the aforementioned hot shooting, thus negating the need to try to score after a miss.
Syracuse has turned into a team that can get down -- double digits -- and you can still have faith they'll win. So this is something new. But that's obviously a good trait to have, particularly in terms of attractiveness for the Tourney. So keep your eye on that. Next up, a game at the Pete. Historically, this would be a tough game against a tough Pitt team. But this year, Pitt is shit. Syracuse better not look past them to Louisville on Monday, because at this point a loss at Pitt might be worse than that loss at BC. We don't need to go back to that version of Syracuse basketball; the current version is working out just fine.