Syracuse hasn’t lost two consecutive games since November, when the Orange dropped back-to-back losses to South Carolina and Wisconsin.
So, when Syracuse took the floor on Saturday it wasn’t much of a surprise when the Orange captured a convincing 76-53 win over Boston College, in front of 21,626 fans at the Carrier Dome.
Syracuse improves to 11-7 on the season, and 3-2 in the ACC behind a career-high 21-point performance from Tyus Battle. Tyler Lydon had 16 points and 6 rebounds, while Andrew White III netted 13 points.
“I think his confidence is just growing a lot,“ White said. “I think by playing against me and some of the other guys every day has just allowed him to grow a lot. I know he spent a lot of extra time developing his game outside of practice hours and that’s helped him a lot.”
Battle mixed up his offensive game against the Eagles. Instead of settling for jump shots, he attacked the rim on multiple occasions, which eventually led to open jumpers.
“I know I’m always good at getting to the basket and stuff like that,” Battle said. “I just haven’t shown it so far. I tried to focus on that today.”
In the second meeting against Boston College, the Orange played a much more aggressive defense against the Eagles.
“I think our defense is getting a little better,” coach Jim Boeheim said. “I think offensively, you know, we didn’t have a great offensive game but we still had a good game. And I think our offense can still get better…I thought it was the defensive effort that was the thing tonight.”
Taurean Thompson got the Orange going early with six points to start the game as Syracuse took an early 6-2 lead against the Eagles.
On the other end, Boston College struggled offensively, opening the game with four turnovers in the first five minutes of the game. Syracuse force Boston College to 15 turnovers in the first half.
Despite, the slow start the Eagles managed to battle back and retake its first and only lead of the game when Ky Bowman hit his first basket of the game with 12:55 remaining in the first half. The Eagles lead didn’t last long, though. Syracuse answered with a 14-2 run that put the Eagles in a hole that they couldn’t get out of.
”The game against Boston College, we were just standing still, letting them shoot whatever jump shot they wanted but tonight we ran them off the line a little more, made them drive it and made them turn the ball over a lot.”
Fortunately for Syracuse, Bowman’s only made field goal came in the first half. Bowman – who sored 30 points against he Orange in the first meeting – struggled from the field. The freshman guard went 1-of-9 from the field. Boeheim and his squad said they made it point of emphasis to avoid giving Bowman easy looks from behind the arc.
“We focused on not letting him getting open shots and making it tough for him, and it turned out well today,” Battle said.
“I think [North Carolina is] probably one of the best teams in the league – top three or four teams in the country,” Boeheim said. “When they play their game, they’re a tremendous basketball team. A lot of veteran guys, a lot of big guys, veteran guards… they’re really good, it’ll be a great challenge.”