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Syracuse loses fourth straight game, 101-90, in double overtime at No. 23 Florida State

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — With no true point guard and all eyes fixated on Tyus Battle, two defenders swarmed the Syracuse star. There was no room to move. Battle played all of regulation and all but 24.6 seconds of both overtimes, pouring every ounce he had into a game- and career-high 37 points to pace the Orange.A 10-second rule was called because Syracuse could not get the ball across mid-court. The Seminoles drilled their 11th 3-pointer of the game on their next possession, paving the path for a late surge to separate themselves from the Orange in the second overtime on Saturday afternoon.In Syracuse’s first multi-OT game since the Connecticut six-OT game in the 2009 Big East Tournament, Florida State launched from deep and brought an offensive attack Syracuse (12-6, 1-4) has not seen this season. Sagging to protect the rim comes with a risk — an open perimeter — and the Seminoles converted on 11 3-pointers. When the Orange stretched out to defend 3s, the Seminoles (13-4, 2-3) worked inside with their considerable size, winning 101-90 at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center and handing SU its fourth straight loss.“That was a good effort,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said, noting that SU overcame a 10-point deficit out of the break. “Tremendous effort … we played well and we’re playing better on offense.”The SU defense was strong early, but the offense was inflammable. They swapped in the second half and much of overtime, as Battle exploded for drives, 3-pointers and an array of versatility to make it a game.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAt the end of regulation, Battle drilled a 3-pointer from the right wing with six seconds left. It sent the game into overtime, the score even at 74, and silenced a previously raucous home crowd. He scored 22 points in the second half and added 10 more in the overtime periods. Battle is SU’s leading scorer, who lifted SU to a win at Georgetown a month ago with two late 3-pointers in an overtime thriller. Saturday, with starting point guard Frank Howard fouled out and no other consistent scoring option, Battle put SU on his back.“I was playing too fast, they were speeding me up,” Battle said. “In the second half, I just slowed down, saw the floor, stayed aggressive.“Just little mistakes that lost us the game. Defensive errors, defensive breakdowns. I let their guys get wide open corner 3s.”What followed many of Battle’s scoring plays was an FSU answer. The high-scoring Seminoles knew how they would beat Syracuse, even without their leading scorer in junior Terance Mann.Shoot the 3.The Seminoles take more 3s per game than any team in the conference and they entered Saturday with the 29th-best scoring offense in the country, averaging nearly 84 points per game. They were held to only 31 points in the first half. But the goal was to beat SU via the 3, and they stuck to their gameplan. FSU shot 11-for-32 from deep.Despite Battle’s outing and the fact that four SU players reached double figures, the Syracuse offense could not keep pace. It was a close game, but Syracuse is stuck in neutral, held back by few scoring options, lethargy and a bevy of turnovers. The Orange committed 19, and FSU turned those into 31 points.At point guard, Howard scored 13 points and dished out five assists before fouling out late in regulation. He was subdued post-game, but he extracted the positive from Syracuse’s 90-point offensive outburst.“We played well, moved the ball a lot better in the second half,” Howard said. “We got some driving lanes. I think we’re starting to find our niche on the offensive end.”It may have come at a convenient time. The Orange’s near upset win could provide Syracuse a momentum boost at a needed time. For one, it was a near a road win against a ranked opponent, something that eluded the program last season. It would have snapped a three-game skid, as well, and the victory represents how formidable the Syracuse defense can be.The Orange will return home Tuesday for Pittsburgh (8-10, 0-5), the worst team in the ACC. Boston College follows, and the Orange is predicted to win each of its next four games, according to Kenpom.com.It may not be time to panic just yet, considering Syracuse started conference play 0-4 two years ago, when the Orange went dancing all of the way to the Final Four. But SU’s fourth straight loss is significant and it will take a strong next month and a half of play to dig itself out of this hole and earn an NCAA Tournament berth.“It’s five games. Who cares?” Boeheim said. “You got a whole season, 14 games left. Who cares? It doesn’t matter. We had a tough start, three tough road games. If we lost them by 10 or 12, I’d be really worried. We had a really good chance to win two of the three.” Comments Published on January 13, 2018 at 5:28 pm Contact Matthew: mguti100@syr.edu | @MatthewGut21last_img

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