SU Men's Basketball v UConn

Moyer makes moves in Syracuse's win over former Big East rival

The Orange's 72-63 win over the Connecticut Huskies was the second game of the 2017 Men's Jimmy V Classic.

NEW YORK—A redshirt freshman overshadowed in previous games came out of his shell Tuesday night.

After the game, forward Matthew Moyer couldn't remember if he had hit a jump shot in any of his previous seven starts for the Syracuse Orange (7-1). But in this game, his career-high 18 points and eight rebounds propelled Syracuse to a 72-63 win over former Big East rival Connecticut

Photo: Chase Guttman
Matthew Moyer (2) finishes a dunk over two Connecticut defenders.

Three days after the Orange lost 76-60 to Kansas, Coach Jim Boeheim led his team immediately to New York and spent the time in between games at Nike Headquarters. The rematch of some historic matchups was part of the Jimmy V Classic and hosted at Madison Square Garden in recognition for the fight against cancer.

With former players like John Wallace and Baye Moussa Keita and future player Jalen Carey in attendance, the Orange jumped out to an early 11-6 lead. Moyer, who has struggled for portions of this season, scored five of the first seven points, including a three-pointer. In the first half, the scoring was well-distributed as seven of the eight Orange players recorded points.

Sophomore guard Tyus Battle, who has led the Orange with scoring so far this season, contributed with slam dunks and corner three-pointers.

Centers Paschal Chukwu and Bourama Sidibe hit three of their four free throws, however both struggled as the game went on. Chukwu, coming off a career high in free throws made in his Syracuse career, got into foul trouble early and Sidibe injured his leg, days after hurting his ankle. Even when they weren’t on the court, the team's rebounding was effective.

“We have not rebounded at this level since Derrick Coleman probably,” Coach Boeheim said.

He has the numbers to prove it. Syracuse out rebounded Connecticut 37-26 and dominated on the offensive glass too, winning 14-7.

The Huskies were far from perfect, starting off with 13 turnovers and only seven assists. Their leading scorer of the first half was Jalen Adams, a junior from Roxbury, Mass, who had 11 points.  

Syracuse was sloppy in the beginning of the second half. A turnover and a miss from deep behind the NBA three-point line from Frank Howard led to Connecticut cutting the Syracuse lead to single digits. Suddenly, it felt as if the game was being played in Connecticut.

Despite the Huskies pressing the ball, the Orange grabbed their first points of the half as Battle drove to the basket and drew the foul.

However, Howard was not able to remain consistent keeping possession of the ball, turning it over nine times. Howard was a leader in many aspects during his first year truly in charge of the team, but he understood this was one of his weakest games. After the game, Boeheim acknowledge the same. 

“He had a really bad game. I don’t think it’ll happen again,” Boeheim said.

Boeheim said the opposite about Moyer, who crashed the offensive glass for rebound dunks.

“He was the difference maker in this one,” Boeheim said. 

One of the interesting moments in the game came when Chukwu fouled out with 6:17 remaining. Rather than going with the banged up Sidibe, Coach Boeheim elected the shorter and more versatile Marek Dolezaj. This paid dividends as he was able to use his lean frame and quick hand movement to disrupt play in the key.

In the first game of the Jimmy V Classic, Villanova defeated Gonzaga 88-72 behind Mikal Bridges’ 28 points.

The Orange play Colgate in their next game on Dec. 9 at 2 p.m.

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