Men’s Basketball Overcomes Louisville with Offensive Outburst

Louisville forward Deng Adel (22) screens off Syracuse forward Oshae Brissett (11) as he attempts a layup during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, Feb. 5, 2018, in Louisville, Ky. Syracuse won 78-73. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
Tuesday, Feb 06, 2018 at 6:49 am by Sports Editor

LOUISVILLE, K.Y – Tyus Battle dribbled the ball near the top of the key with just about one minute left in the game. Syracuse (16-8, 5-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) held a four-point lead over Louisville (16-8, 6-5 ACC) in Kentucky.

Driving to his right, the sophomore put up a shot that missed off the backboard. But, Marek Dolezaj leapt through the air to tip in the errant shot, all but sealing the Orange’s 78-73 on Monday night.

In its previous two conference showdowns, ‘Cuse shot less than 32 percent from the field and made even fewer three-point field goals. In the KFC Yum! Center, SU head coach Jim Boeheim and company scored on nearly 50 percent of their shots and drained 46 percent of its attempts from downtown.

“At the end of the day, we haven’t been making shots,” head coach Jim Boeheim said. “And tonight we made shots. Our guards have been four-for-seventeen, four-for-seventeen … if they do that tonight, we lose.”

Both Tyus Battle and Frank Howard surged offensively. They both played a full 40 minutes, scoring 25 and 22 points, respectively.

“Our shot’s going to fall,” Tyus Battle said with a smile. “it’s inevitable our shot was going to fall sometime. It’s just the odds.”

“We have shooters, but we want to attack the rim first,” Frank Howard added. “But, us being the guards, we know we have to look for our shot first. We just want to be aggressive.”

Being aggressive off the dribble certainly gave the Orange an advantage tonight. Both Battle and Howard drove into the paint all night against one of the best rim protectors in the ACC in Anas Mahmoud.

They were rewarded with 19 free throws, hitting 16.

“Frank and I just have to continue to be aggressive, make things happen,” Battle reiterated. “Get the ball to the basket.”

This contest was far from a sure thing, however, as both Marek Dolezaj and Paschal Chukwu played chunks of the second half with four fouls.

“We had massive foul trouble the whole game,” Boeheim admitted. “I thought our players were smart, were good. They stayed away from situations.”

At least, for the most part.

[Oshae] made a bad play on that fifth one,” Boeheim said. “He knows better.”

Brissett fouled out of the game with 1:26 remaining and the Orange clinging to a six-point lead.

While in the game, however, he was part of a defense that held the Cardinals to just 23 percent from behind the arc. The young forwards also helped stifle their counterparts down low.

“We knew it was going to be tough for them to try and stop them,” Battle said. “They got some fouls, but they made it tough for them to score around the basket and I think that was a key for our win tonight.”

Syracuse will look to ride this production into the Carrier Dome on February 11, when Wake Forest visits the Carrier Dome.

“This was our best win in a long time coming off of a couple really not good offensive – three bad offensive performances in a row – to play well offensively tonight … I just thought we had great patience.”