Tyus Battle ends slump with 23 points in Syracuse’s win over Morehead State

first_img Published on November 10, 2018 at 10:54 pm Contact Billy: wmheyen@syr.edu | @Wheyen3 Tyus Battle pulled up from about 15 feet on the left wing with 5:20 to go Saturday. He’d made 3-of-4 shots already in the second half. He’d already surpassed his scoring total from Syracuse’s first game when he shot 30 percent. And on this particular shot, he swished it.After his feet hit the ground, Battle bobbed his head and put a small scowl on his face. The Carrier Dome roared as SU’s leading scorer from a year ago showed he was back.“Droughts happen,” Battle said. “I wasn’t worried about it. Once I got to see one go in, I knew I was fine.”Battle scored an SU-high 23 points on Saturday night in the Carrier Dome, as the No. 16 Orange (2-0) held off Morehead State (1-2), 84-70. He finished 7-for-15 from the field and 9-for-10 from the foul line as he again spent much of the game as Syracuse’s de facto point guard. After a 3-for-10 opening night, and a poor first half, Battle dropped 18 in the second half to help the Orange pull away from a persistent Eagles team.“He can score anywhere,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said. “Doesn’t matter where he is.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBattle wasn’t available to speak to the media after Tuesday’s season-opener. He was out on the Carrier Dome floor, getting shots up. Saturday, he said he “always wants to get shots up,” and he just wanted to solve whatever felt “a little off” in his shot.At first, it looked like those extra shots may not have done Battle any good. He got swatted on his first shot attempt Saturday as he attacked the basket. He missed a left-block fadeaway, short. He missed at the rim, again. He missed a jumper, again. Altogether, he missed his first six shots.But then, Battle pulled up from the right elbow and swished. About a minute later, he spun toward the right baseline, pulled up, and hit again. Although he missed a floater with time winding down, Battle had seen the ball go through the basket.“Just to see those go in at the end of the half, I think really gave me momentum for the second half,” Battle said.With Frank Howard still absent due to injury, Battle’s been forced to play point guard. He felt that may have contributed to his lack of aggression in SU’s exhibitions and its season opener. But he started to change that in Saturday’s first half, even when shots weren’t falling.In the second half, the aggression began to pay off. Battle attacked the rim for two layups while being fouled, along with another bucket that came off a post up on the left block.“I was trying to be aggressive in the first half and I was trying to be aggressive in the second half,” Battle said. “Only thing that changed was I guess I made a couple more shots.”Battle continued to drive to the hoop to get to the foul line, where he was 8-for-8 in the second half. In addition to the two and-1s, three separate slashes into the lane sent Battle to the line, where each time he made his pair.“Even foul shots when you see the ball go in, it makes things a lot easier,” Battle said. “Especially when you’re looking to score the ball.”Morehead State didn’t want to go away, as the Eagles brought their deficit back to 10 points on a number of occasions late in the second half. But in the closing moments, the game was finally in hand for Syracuse.The moment against Eastern Washington when the game felt in control came much earlier. Then, on his final shot of the night, Battle broke away with 4:12 to go, and he tomahawked a dunk. When he landed, he frowned.This time, it wasn’t until the game’s final minute that the Orange’s lead wasn’t in doubt. Battle beat his man going left and sliced down the center of the lane. No defenders came to help. Battle rose up and flushed it home with two hands. He didn’t show emotion right in that moment. But afterward, Oshae Brissett said, the Orange saw their junior leader smile.“We’re all excited for him,” Brissett said. “We like seeing our guys come out of their slumps. We’re all in this together, really. We don’t want to see any of our guys down. Seeing him like that, seeing him happy, even after the game, seeing him smile after the game, really lifts us all up.” Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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