Tyus Battle’s career-high 28 points helps Syracuse outlast Iona, 71-62, for 2nd win

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 14, 2017 at 9:08 pm Contact Matthew: mguti100@syr.edu | @MatthewGut21 Tyus Battle glanced over his left shoulder, surveying the options in front of him. He made the split-second decision to attack from the right wing in transition, beating to the rim a pair of Iona defenders with two right-handed dribbles. He laid the ball in for an and-1, extending Syracuse’s lead to five and sending the Carrier Dome to its loudest level with about 12 minutes to play.“I knew I was going to draw the foul somehow,” said Battle, who added three assists and five rebounds. “I live for stuff like that.”Several minutes later, Battle picked up the offense by knocking down back-to-back jumpers. They followed Iona’s second successful alley-oop of the half, both the result of a Gaels forward sneaking behind the backs of SU’s three bigs down low. But Battle answered en route to his 23-point second half.Syracuse’s sophomore guard and the center of the SU offense keyed a small but significant second-half spurt that carried SU (2-0) long enough to beat Iona (0-2), 71-62, on Tuesday night in the Carrier Dome. Battle scored a career-high 28 points for SU, better than his previous high of 23.In the first half, the Orange looked fairly similar to how it came out in the two exhibition games, as Syracuse struggled to create gaps in Iona’s loose man, or matchup zone. The Orange found little penetration until late, when Battle said he grew more aggressive and commanded the offense.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAndy Mendes | Digital Design EditorSyracuse lost five of its six most-played players and about 43 of the 57 shots it took as a team per game last season. Four days after he scored 18 points in the opener, Battle provided an early indicator of the player he needs to be this season for Syracuse.“Tyus took over the game,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. “It was a two-point game, he took it over. He made huge plays. They’re a pretty good defensive team. He made some pretty big-time plays today.”Led by Battle, its only returning starter from a year ago, the Orange collected enough buckets and fended off Iona to survive for its second victory to start the year, avoiding what would have been its earliest loss since the 2003-04 season. Iona made the NCAA Tournament last year, but could not contain Battle in what was Syracuse’s second of six straight home games to start the season.The Orange entered the break ahead, 32-28, after a drive and right-handed finish by Frank Howard as the buzzer sounded. It capped a relatively stagnant first half for the Syracuse offense. In the second half, Battle hit a couple of teardrops, dribble-drive layups and 3-pointers. He shot 11-of-19 overall and 2-of-7 from distance, injecting life in the SU offense.“It’s something he should be able to do every game,” said SU center Paschal Chukwu, who grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds. “He came up big when we need him to.”Tyus Battle shot an efficient 11-of-19, 57.9 percent, in scoring a career-high 28 points to help Syracuse defeat Iona on Tuesday night in the Carrier Dome. Codie Yan | Staff PhotographerThe Gaels, an up-tempo, 3-point heavy team, finished 22-13 last year and advanced to the NCAA Tournament, better than SU’s NIT bid. In the teams’ first meeting in seven years, Battle and Howard spearheaded an otherwise lethargic SU offense. They traded buckets for the early part of the second half until Battle’s back-to-back jumpers sparked the mini run.With just over two minutes on the clock, Battle extended Syracuse’s lead to 10 via a step-back jumper, his “go-to.” On an inbounds play with under one minute to go, Battle caught a football-style over-the-shoulder pass and jammed it with two hands, capping the best performance of his Syracuse career.Whenever Syracuse seemed to be on the verge of pulling away, Iona pulled back within striking distance. SU — led by Battle’s second-half explosion — held out long enough to preserve the win.“I think at the end of last year he was playing just like this,” Boeheim said. “But he’s more confident, he’s stronger and knows what he’s got to do.” Commentslast_img

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