ACC wins don’t usually come easy. This one did.
After a humiliating New Years Day defeat to Boston College, Syracuse got some revenge inside the Carrier Dome Saturday afternoon beating BC 76-53.
SU hasn’t lost to Boston College twice in the regular season since 1996-1997. Tyus Battle and the rest of the Orange made sure that streak continued Saturday afternoon. SU’s freshman guard finished the game with a season high 21 points on seven of 13 shooting. With the victory, SU improves to 11-7 on the year and 3-2 in the ACC.
While Battle’s offensive display caught the eye of most SU fans, postgame, Jim Boeheim lauded Syracuse’s display on the other end.
“It was all defense for us tonight,” Boeheim said. “It was strictly a defensive effort.”
At times this season Syracuse has struggled with turnovers. Not this afternoon. SU forced BC into 20 giveaways while the Orange committed just six.
Andrew White recorded three steals, as did Battle. Tyler Lydon finished the game with two blocks. We’ve seen multiple press conferences from Boeheim complaining about defense this year. Today was a different story; SU showed its potential.
“When we dominate like this, it shows we can play better overall,” said SU’s head man.
It wasn’t only the defensive effort that drew praise from Boeheim. Battle was also on the receiving end of some Boeheim compliments.
“This was Tyus Battle’s best game…He was patient. When we’re patient, there are more opportunities.”
Boeheim’s right. Three times Battle dribbled patiently at the top of the key and then exploded to the hoop for a layup against the Eagles. He looks very comfortable, which is an encouraging sign for Orange fans.
“I’m starting to understand the pace of the game now,” Battle said. “It takes time for any freshman. The key thing is I’m taking more shots.”
For one afternoon all is right in Orange Nation.
Looking at the big picture, SU still has a lot of work to do. We all saw ESPN’s Joe Lunardi give the Orange no chance to make the NCAA Tournament this week.
Clearly that’s some bad news. There is good news though: SU has plenty of chances to beef up its resume before March.
Up next for Syracuse, a trip to eleventh ranked North Carolina and then another road game against number 20 Notre Dame. These next two contests are season defining.
There are plenty of positives to take from SU’s win over BC. The key now is consistency. If the Orange maintains this form, then look out. If not, we’ll look back on this year and think of what could have been.