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: email@example.com | @MatthewGut21
In the first game of the Wisconsin men’s hockey series with No. 3 Minnesota Friday, one player, junior forward Michael Mersch, single-handedly kept UW in the game.Twice falling down a goal to the Gophers, Mersch brought the Badgers level just as many times on two gritty goals to help the Badgers earn their way to a 2-2 tie on Minnesota’s home ice.On the season, Mersch has six goals in eight games, and five of the Badgers’ 11 goals in conference play. He is the only player – besides injured junior forward Mark Zengerle – to score more than one goal this season.On a team that has only won one game in eight tries this season, it would not be an understatement to say Mersch has become the go-to player on offense in Zengerle’s absence.While many of his goals are not beautifully placed one-timers from the top of the slot, his gritty offensive style has made him a vital cog in Wisconsin’s offensive scheme.“He’s a very important piece of our offense,” redshirt junior Keegan Meuer said. “Really what he brings to the table for us isn’t scoring goals; it’s what he does that allows him to score goals. He finds pucks in the corners for us; he wins battles in the corner.“He protects the puck and controls it so well and is able to dish it out to a teammate, and then he creates a screen and gets a tip in or a rebound.”But despite his recent success, the junior from Park Ridge, Ill., hasn’t let his early-season string of goals get to his head.“It kind of is what it is right now, guys are going to have to step up, we’re going to have to get more opportunities from other guys,” Mersch said. “I’m hot right now, but someone else can get hot at any certain time, I’m just going to keep working hard and hope to contribute to this team.”From a young age, Mersch’s destiny to be a Badger was never in much doubt.After a select festival for U.S. youth hockey players, Mersch first encountered the Wisconsin hockey team in the form of a letter the team sent him. While the letter was just a standard letter sent to many potential Wisconsin recruits, it opened the door to further communication between the two parties continuing on throughout the rest of his youth career.Following an unofficial visit to see UW later in his youth career, Mersch said he fell in love with the school almost immediately.“I came up on an unofficial visit with my youth hockey coach and saw a game,” Mersch said. “It kind of just grew from there; I loved it at first sight.”Signing on to play for the Badgers starting in 2010, Mersch’s talents immediately stood out for UW, as he scored eight goals in his freshman campaign to lead all UW freshmen.Mersch did so well, in fact, that at the conclusion of his freshman season he entered the 2011 NHL Draft and was subsequently selected 110th overall by the Los Angeles Kings.With his hockey future locked up, it would have been easy for Mersch to skip out and test his luck in the NHL, but he said the opportunities college hockey offer have provided him with invaluable experience as he prepares for an NHL hockey future.“It gives you time, you still get an education, which is huge; me and my family, we always say I’m getting a two-in-one package playing here at Madison and going to school,” Mersch said. “It gives you time to develop your game, you’re in no rush. … I’m not rushed; I’m just enjoying playing.”Now in his third year with the Badgers, Mersch has quietly become one of the veteran players on a youthful team that has only three seniors to lead the way – something his teammates say will go a long way in helping a lost Wisconsin team find an identity as it moves forward in the long WCHA season.“He’s one of those guys where you can be a leader without having to say anything,” Meuer said. “Just the way [he] acts around the rink and the way [he] carries [himself]. … Those kind of things rub off, and I think he brings a lot of that to the table.”
OpTic Gaming is reportedly the latest team to be accepted into the upcoming split of the North American League of Legends Championship Series.Meanwhile, it’s rough news for fans of Pheonix1 and Team Envy as both teams have failed to secure entry into the 2018 NA LCS, according to a report by ESPN.The NA LCS is undergoing significant changes next split, including a much-discussed switch to a revenue-sharing model based on franchising. As a result of the shift, teams have had to apply to rejoin the league, in order to secure spots – which appear to be hotly contested.So tough is the competition that longstanding League of Legends brand Team Dignitas – who participated in the first season of the NA LCS in 2013 – were denied application, and Pheonix1 and Team Envy will now join them in retiring from the league. Sources said that they were notified of Riot Games’ decision sometime last week.OpTic Gaming make the cut after a process which reportedly saw over 100 applications from a diverse array of potential teams and investors. Their buy-in will include $5 million (£3.77m) up front, with a further $5 million in later payments. As a new team, they will also be required to pay a $3m (£2.26m) fee, which will enter a pool used to compensate existing teams (such as Pheonix1 and Envy) which don’t make it in. This latest news means that at least three new teams will be joining the next season of Riot’s showpiece North American league.Alongside OpTic, reports earlier this week suggested that Joe Lacob, majority owner of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, was accepted as one of the ten franchise spot holders.The changes to the North American League of Legends Championship Series continue with no further news from Riot regarding the future of the European LCS, a cause of some concern that the region may struggle to remain competitive.Esports Insider says: Team Envy and Pheonix1 have only participated in the NA LCS for three splits, so their loss in favour of new blood is not altogether unexpected. We look forward to seeing OpTic and their infamous Green Wall enter the League of Legends scene.