SU Basketball v Iona College

Tyus Battle’s breakout performance enough to down Gaels

Battle’s career-high in points proved to be crucial in Syracuse win.

The Syracuse Orange (2-0) were certainly tested by last year’s MAAC champions, Iona Gaels (0-2), but grabbed their second win 71-62.

Whereas Syracuse was able to pull away in their season opener against Cornell, that was not the case on Nov. 14. Leading 32-28 at halftime, Iona kept themselves in the game with scrappy play. Their matchup zone defense posed problems for the Syracuse side, which turned the ball over 15 times.

Photo: Chase Guttman

Despite containing Iona on fast breaks for the most part, Iona Junior guard Ricky McGill caught fire in the second half. He drained five of the team’s ten 3-pointers leading the Gaels with 21 points. And yet ultimately, the show was stolen away from him by one man: Tyus Battle.

After a quiet start, Battle began to attack the rim with confidence and was unstoppable once he established his jumper in rhythm. Coming down the stretch, Battle’s playmaking ability was too much for the Iona zone. With 50 seconds left in the game, he split the full court press to catch a Hail Mary pass and slammed home the dagger. Battle simply did it all, scoring a career-high 28 points on 11-19 shooting in 35 minutes of action.

His previous best was 23 against Virginia last season

“I look for stuff like this, just trying to be aggressive and will the team. We’re going to have a lot of games like this when teams are making tough shots… so just the most poised team usually comes out with the win," Battle said.

When asked about Battle’s new role on offense, Coach Boeheim stated, “He’s more confident. He’s stronger. Last year, we had options. We had guys who could score. But he’s the main guy.”

Guard Frank Howard and Forward Oshae Brissett also played well. Howard had four assists and two steals to go along with his 15 points. Brissett added 12 points on 4-9 shooting (and 40 percent from three).

Other contributors included forward Marek Dolezaj, who collected four crucial offensive rebounds. Center Paschal Chukwu tallied four blocks and 10 boards.

Concerning the non-conference victory over NCAA Tournament-projected Iona, Boeheim said, "I don’t care what people project, I think they’ve got a really good team. They forced us into some turnovers we cannot make. It was a really good game."

Next up, Syracuse hosts Texas Southern on Saturday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. in the Carrier Dome.

Post new comment

* Field must be completed for your comment to appear on The NewsHouse
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.