Matthew Moyer’s Career Night Leads Men’s Basketball to 72-63 Victory over UCONN in MSG
By Christian De Guzman
NEW YORK, N.Y. — The media surrounded Matthew Moyer after Tuesday’s game vs UCONN.
As the forward took questions, Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim chirped in his direction.
“Nobody talked to you all year,” Boeheim exclaimed. “What are they doing now?”
Moyer and the rest of the media laughed before questions resumed. The huge media presence around the sophomore was warranted after his career game against Connecticut. Moyer scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds to help lead Syracuse to a 72-63 victory over the Huskies at Madison Square Garden.
Tuesday’s game marked the fourth time that Syracuse and UCONN played in Madison Square Garden after the dramatic six-overtime game in 2009. The atmosphere fueled Moyer throughout the game. Coming into Tuesday’s contest, Moyer had scored just 17 points all season. The forward needed a spark.
“I grew up watching this [rivalry],” said Moyer. “When you’re going out there and warming up, it’s absolutely just an unreal experience.”
Moyer channeled that energy into the highlights of the game. In the first half, Oshae Brissett missed a right corner three-point shot. Moyer sailed through the paint and slammed home the missed shot over Christian Vital and Eric Cobb of UCONN.
“I think I boosted off somebody,” said Moyer. “Afterwards, emotions just flowed out of me.”
Moyer tip-slammed another missed shot towards the end of the second half. Battle missed a three-pointer from the top of the key. Moyer found himself unblocked on the left side of the court and rose to the rim for the easy one-handed slam dunk.
Moyer’s aggressiveness echoed throughout the Syracuse offense. The Orange attempted just 16 three-point shots – the second fewest amount this season. SU drove towards the basket more, in large part due to the energy boost received through Moyer’s play.
“I feel like he just came out really confident,” said Brissett. “We talked before the game – don’t let the crowd get to you, don’t let the arena get to you. You just (have to) play the game you know you can play. He did that and it showed today.”
Moyer’s eight rebounds on the night also factored into SU’s strong defense against UCONN. Four Orange players – Moyer, Brissett, Paschal Chukwu, and Frank Howard – collected at least five boards. Syracuse out-rebounded the Huskies 37-26 on the night.
“The one thing that’s impressed me with this team so far is our rebounding,” said Boeheim. “We have not rebounded at this level since Derrick Coleman”
Lost in the shuffle of Moyer’s performance was Tyus Battle. The guard still recorded 22 points to lead Syracuse. Battle has lead all Syracuse scorers in seven of the eight games the Orange has played.
“Once Tyus got u going, that was the difference in the game really,” said Boeheim. “He is really improved from last year.”
Syracuse improved to 7-1 after the win, while UCONN fell to 6-3. Syracuse plays its next game against Colgate on Saturday, December 9th.