Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 14, 2017 at 9:08 pm Contact Matthew: firstname.lastname@example.org | @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.” Comments
Strong play in second halves has helped save the University of Wisconsin men’s soccer team many times this year.In a 1-1 draw against St. Johns, the Badgers scored their lone goal in the 48th minute and did not allow a shot on goal the entire second half. The Badgers played well in the first half, but allowed a goal due to the strong winds.The Badgers played a solid, all-around game against St. John’s with the only lapse being a long punt going behind the back line and leading to a one-on-one opportunity in which the Red Storms’ Mohamed Awad beat Wisconsin goalkeeper Casey Beyers.The strong winds behind the St. John’s goalkeeper pushed the ball farther and farther beyond the Wisconsin back line, and they were never able to recover.The Badgers did not drop their heads after the goal, knowing they would have the wind on their side in the second half.Wisconsin has been down going into halftime at several points this season, but head coach John Trask has been able to energize his team with his halftime speeches.“When your heads are down, [Trask] just comes in and gets you going with his speech,” freshman forward Mike Catalano said.Trask tried to keep the emotions positive in the locker room because he believed the Badgers outplayed St. John’s for the majority of the first half. This positive tone may have led to Wisconsin’s success later on in the game.With the strong wind at their backs for the second half, the Badgers pushed forward and put pressure on the St. John’s defensive line.“[St. John’s] wanted to build out of the back, real deep,” Trask said of the Red Storm’s strategy in the second half playing into the wind. “So if we could push the game and press them, balls were getting hung up and we were going to be able to win them and slam it back down their throats.”Wisconsin scored off a cross from freshman Tom Barlow who connected with Catalano. The goal ignited the crowd and gave Wisconsin more energy to keep attacking.Wisconsin took 10 shots in the second half alone, which were helped by the winds and their aggressive positioning.Not only were the forwards able to attack more, but the Wisconsin defensive line was also able to move forward with the wind behind them.“It allowed us a little more attacking freedom and the midfielders were able to push up, which allowed us to get our goal,” defender David Caban said.The Badgers continued their push throughout the second half while trying to reach that second goal.Although UW didn’t score in the second half, it continued strong into the extra time periods by maintaining control of the ball and the game for a majority of the time. St. John’s had two total scoring opportunities in the second half, but could not get a shot on goal in either chance.The only time Wisconsin had difficulty with St. John’s after halftime was in the final two minutes of extra time. St. John’s attacked and earned two corner kicks within the final 20 seconds, but Wisconsin’s defensive line held the Red Storm off the board to earn the tie.With strong second half performances from the entire team, the Badgers are looking to get even stronger as the season wears on. But tough road matches loom for UW in the coming weeks, and it will need to continue its strong second half play along with improving its first half play to stand a chance against the better competition.The large home crowd and student section may have helped the Badgers keep fighting in the second halves recently, but they will have to find other motivations on the road.Wisconsin gained some confidence Friday night by ending its three-game losing streak, but the Badgers cannot rely solely on their second half play to bring them back into games. They will eventually need to find more success early on in the games, which can help bring results their way in the future.