Syracuse battles through mishaps to beat Colgate 72-58

first_imgTyus Battle watched a Colgate 3-pointer arc into the net and clapped his hands in frustration under the basket. It was the Raiders’ fourth 3-pointer in the first 10 minutes of the game and it cut Syracuse’s lead to two.On the ensuing SU possession, point guard Frank Howard found Battle on the wing for a 3-pointer, his second in a row. It marked the start of an 18-4 Orange run that lasted until the final minutes of the first half.Syracuse teetered between playing up to its capabilities and playing down to its opponent for much of the contest. The Orange (8-1) would show its superior size and talent, like when 7-foot-2 center Paschal Chukwu rotated over to stuff Colgate’s 6-foot-9 center Dana Batt, who looked dumbfounded as it happened.But there’d also be lazy play, like when Battle sluggishly tried to pick up a Colgate player near the baseline after a missed basket by SU. Battle got beat easily, and it led to a Raiders (3-6) 3-pointer within a few seconds. Still, Syracuse’s advantages prevailed in a 72-58 victory Saturday afternoon in the Carrier Dome.“First half our defense was much better. We made some really bad offensive plays the first half that kept us from getting control of the game,” head coach Jim Boeheim said postgame. “In the second half, we were better offensively. We got a little stagnant defensively.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Raiders came into the game ranked as the third-worst team that SU’s faced this year, per Kenpom.com. Colgate did excel from shooting the ball from deep, though, hitting at a 40-percent clip coming in. The Raiders shooting kept the game close at times, as Colgate ended up shooting 14-for-35 from deep, getting 42 of its points from behind the arc.SU also struggled with Colgate packing its 2-3 zone early, daring the Orange to shoot. But as Battle made a few shots, the CU zone loosened, allowing the Orange to take advantage of lopsided individual matchups.Frequently, 6-foot-8, 210-pound Oshae Brissett found himself marked by Colgate guards who were at least six inches shorter than him. Brissett attacked the basket hard from both the high and low posts. He ended with 20 points and shot better than 50 percent for the first time all season.“We never once doubted anything that we were doing,” Brissett said. “It was pretty easy for us to score when we wanted to.”Even when Syracuse went with its super-small, no-center lineup — Howard Washington, Howard, Battle, Brissett and Marek Dolezaj — the Orange flexed its muscles. Dolezaj operated out of the high post and picked apart the Colgate zone.On one play, he found Brissett posted up against a smaller defender on the low block. Brissett got the ball, turned and slammed it down through contact for a highlight-reel play. The next play, Dolezaj fed the 6-foot-5 Howard, who also slammed it home.After Howard’s jam, Colgate tried to pack in its zone again, so Dolezaj found Battle behind the arc in front of the Colgate bench. The Raiders’ Jordan Swopshire tried to close out on Battle, but as he charged forward, Battle put the ball down and blew by him for an easy layup.Still, the Orange was uncharacteristically weak on the offensive glass — the eight offensive rebounds were a season low, the first time SU has had fewer than 10 — and sometimes stagnant on offense. Boeheim noted that and said that Syracuse needs to improve on offense and that “we’ve got a lot of work to do to get to be a better team.”Mishaps like that allowed Colgate to hang around for most of the game. Syracuse’s players know that improvements have to be made. For now, they’re just happy with the win.“Not too worried about this one. Get the win however you can,” Howard said. “Of course we want to have prettier wins. Have better, more crisp plays. That’ll come. Tonight we just stood a lot. A lot of standing, a lot of standing. When we get movement, we’ll get back to that pace.” Comments Published on December 9, 2017 at 6:21 pm Contact Tomer: [email protected] | @tomer_langer Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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