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Saturday, Nov 18, 2017 at 11:09 pm

Men’s Basketball Spread the Wealth to Defeat Texas Southern

By Matt Wieselthier

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Tyus Battle had to just sit there as his team struggled to keep up with Texas Southern in the first half.

Already with two fouls, Battle watched Syracuse go back and forth with its SWAC foe.

“I’m not really used to that, so it definitely did bother me,” said Battle, who played only ten minutes in the first half. “Foul trouble happens, so I had to get it going in the second half.”

With Battle watching from the sidelines, it was the bench that stepped up for the Orange, leading the team to a 38-30 halftime lead. Led by Geno Thorpe, the Syracuse bench scored 25 points in the first half.

“It was important. I’m just trying to play my own game, find my own rhythm,” said Thorpe, who scored 13 first half points. “I’m not really too worried about how people think I’m playing. I just want to contribute to the team as much as possible.”

In the second half, the star sophomore exploded back onto the scene. Battle scored 16 points in the final 20 minutes to propel Syracuse to a 80-67 win over Texas Southern.

“Open shots, I take them all the time, so I wasn’t worried about sitting down in the first half,” said the sophomore, who finished with 21 points in the win. “Just to be aggressive, that’s always what’s going through my mind, just trying to make something happen, and if that’s getting the open shot then so be it.”

Head coach Jim Boeheim was happy with how his team came out to start the second half, and is starting to see the strengths of his young team.

“When we played defense, when we were all active and engaged, we were pretty good,” said Boeheim, whose Orange held the Tigers scoreless for the first 5:27 of the second half.

Boeheim wasn’t as happy however about his offense in the first period.

“The first half, it looked like we had never seen a zone before,” said the head coach, who watched his team shoot 41.4% from the field in the first twenty minutes. “Second half we moved the ball and got in the high post.”

Syracuse will have a quick turnaround with Oakland coming to the Carrier Dome on Monday for the second game of the Hoophall Miami Invitational.

And maybe in that game, the Orange can satisfy Jim Boeheim for two halves.