It wasn’t always pretty, but Syracuse beat Iona 71-62 last night for its second win of the season. After the game, Jim Boeheim was very complimentary of the Gaels. Sure, the Orange has plenty of work to do, but Tuesday night was a step in the right direction. Iona made it a one possession game several times down the stretch and SU always responded. That’s what you want to see from any team, especially a young one.
Here are three takeaways from Tuesday night’s victory:
Marek Dolezaj means business
This man was all over the place against the Gaels. Dolezaj finished the game with six rebounds, but four of them came on the offensive glass. The Orange used his energy to pull away from Iona in the second half. A lot has been said about his weight, but I don’t expect that to be too much of an issue. Dolezaj is a fighter and he’s not going to back down from anyone, no matter how much of a size advantage they may have.
Tyus Battle and Frank Howard are ready to carry the load
In terms of scoring, last night played out like many expect the entire season to: Battle and Howard handled most of the scoring. Howard led the Orange in the first half with ten, and Battle exploded in the second half for 23 of his career-high 28 points. Obviously the hope is others will step up and take some pressure off of the starting backcourt, but it was good to see them come through when the team needed them.
Matt Moyer is still searching for his opportunities
To start the year, Moyer has struggled on the offensive end. However, it’s not because he’s been missing a ton of shots. In 46 minutes in SU’s first two games, Moyer has shot the ball just six times. He’s made two of those shots, but that’s not the problem. As Boeheim said after last night’s game, Moyer is still looking for his chances to score. His energy has been good so far this season, so it should just be a matter of time before he gets going on the offensive end.
When Boeheim was asked what his team needs to work on for Saturday, he was frank: everything. While that may be a little harsh, there’s no doubt the Orange will be working hard this week before its next game against Texas Southern.