Syracuse uses balanced attack to defeat BC 81-63
By MARK FRANK
Jan. 25, 2018
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Maybe the answer to Syracuse's often sluggish offense is a week off between games.
Fresh off a win over Pitt eight days ago, the Orange turned in its best first half of the year and possibly its best overall effort on offense in a dominating 81-63 win Wednesday over Boston College.
Five Syracuse players scored in double figures and the Orange rode an 11-0 run early in the second half to take control.
"I think the time off was beneficial," said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, "but you never know whether it's really gonna help or not. I think overall it was a positive. This was probably the best offensive game we played all year, by all measures."
The Orange hit 64 percent from the field and 56 percent from beyond the arc in the first half and 60 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3 for the game. The 47 points marked the biggest first half of the season for Syracuse.
Tyus Battle led Syracuse (14-6, 3-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) with 24 points. Frank Howard added 18 and Paschal Chukwu chipped in with 14. Oshae Brissett had 13 and Marek Dolezaj had a career-high 12. Brissett, Chukwu and Battle played the entire 40 minutes.
The Eagles (13-8, 3-5) were led by Jerome Robinson's 21 and Ky Bowman had 20.
Syracuse took advantage of 17 BC turnovers, scored 17 points on Eagles miscues, and outscored BC 30-14 in the paint.
"The week off definitely helped. We were able to rest our minds and bodies," said Howard, who had six assists and zero turnovers. "We worked on picking up our pace, pushing the ball, and getting back to moving the ball, sharing the ball with everyone and not limiting ourselves to three guys (Howard, Battle and Brissett).
"We've been working on our movement on offense. We wanted to be engaged on defense," Howard added. "I think we did that tonight. It was probably our best half offensively, in terms of movement and scoring the ball. We got a lot of easy shots."
Syracuse went on an 11-0 run in the first five minutes of the second half to extend to a 58-40 lead. BC closed to 67-55 on Bowman's 3-pointer, but two foul shots by Chukwu, and a 3-pointer by Battle, gave Syracuse breathing room down the stretch.
"We turned the ball over 17 times, and they took advantage of our individual defense," said BC coach Jim Christian. "They made a lot of shots early, shots they haven't really been hitting. If you give up 14 and 12 points to those two guys (Chukwu and Dolezaj) it's hard to beat them."
Boston College rode four consecutive 3-pointers to jump to a 14-7 lead but the Orange went on a 30-11 run to take a 37-25 lead with 4:35 to go in the first half and a 47-37 margin at the break.
Freshman forward Matt Moyer sprained his left ankle with 14:58 to go in the first half and didn't return. Jim Boeheim said Moyer could be out "a while."
PASCHAL'S A FORCE:
Paschal Chukwu had three putbacks in the first half. In addition to his 14 points, Chukwu had seven rebounds and two blocks.
Boston College has a week off before a big test against Virginia Tech. The Eagles will want to work on protecting the ball.
Syracuse has a chance to move over .500 in the league with road games against Pitt and Georgia Tech but its limited depth will be sorely tested if Moyer is out for an extended period.
Boston College has a week off before hosting Virginia Tech Wednesday.
Syracuse hits the road for a Saturday afternoon matchup against Pitt.