Tyus Battle keeps Syracuse within striking distance of Duke in 69-65 loss

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 24, 2018 at 3:58 am Contact Charlie: csdistur@syr.edu | @charliedisturco OMAHA, Neb. — Seven seconds remained on the clock as Tyus Battle stepped to the free-throw line. The Orange trailed by three, its season quickly falling out of reach.In that moment, Battle had an opportunity to pull the Orange within one against conference rival and brute Duke. The sophomore had kept SU within striking distance all game on the back of his 3-point shooting and passing. Now, here he was, possibly taking his last pair of free throws in an Orange uniform.Battle released his first free throw. It bounced off the rim and to the floor. He dropped his head, knowing the game was over. Though he made the second free throw, Duke would extend its lead to two possessions on the following play. And six seconds later, the buzzer sounded as No. 11 seed Syracuse’s (23-14, 8-10)  run came to an end against No. 2 seed Duke (29-7, 13-5), 69-65, on Friday night at CenturyLink Stadium. When SU had trailed by seven at the half, the margin was single digits because of Battle. And as the comeback ensued, it was Battle again.“Battle is one of the best players in the country,” Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “And I thought he really kept them in the game in the first half. And he’s poised. He’s a big-time player.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAlexandra Moreo | Senior Staff PhotographerAll season long, Battle has been the leader on a Syracuse team that’s had a turbulent season, one that led to the Orange being the last team in. He’s played 39 or more minutes in all but two games since December and has taken the bulk of the shots, especially down the wire. Just last game, he scored 16 second-half points and had the step back jumper and a pair of free throws to lift the Orange to a 55-53 upset over No. 3 seed Michigan State. But in the two games prior to Duke, Battle struggled to heat up in the first half. He shot a combined 1-for-11 before using a strong second half to lead SU in back-to-back upsets. That changed Friday night.Two minutes in, Frank Howard caught a pass in the high post. He quickly found Battle who drilled the 3. In the previous 40 first-half minutes, he had just three points. All it took was one shot to tie that skid.Over the next 18 minutes, Battle added two more 3s, a floater and found Paschal Chukwu for an alley-oop over Duke’s Wendell Carter Jr. Unlike the last two games, Battle said he was releasing the ball higher, which resulted in a better shooting performance — 50 percent from the field. He also credited freshman Marek Dolezaj, whose screens helped open up enough room for a pair of 3s. It was a much-needed performance for Battle, especially with his two main counterparts, Frank Howard and Oshae Brissett, struggling. The two combined for four points on 1-of-12 shooting and four turnovers. “That’s our main scorer on the team. We want him to take those shots and get over our offensive slumps,” Brissett said. “… Today he was hot so we just kept on giving him the ball, kept on letting him do his thing.”Battle’s success carried over into the second half. On one play, he spun between a collapsing Trevon Duval and Marvin Bagley III before letting off a floater that went over the outstretched arms of Carter Jr. The ball swished through the net as the referees blew their whistle to call a foul.Though he only scored eight points in that half, he distributed the ball into the paint often. Battle continuously worked the ball to Dolezaj who consistently made turnaround jumpers. As the final buzzer sounded, Battle hunched over. His team-high 19 points and five assists helped Syracuse keep the game within one possession until the final seconds. But he couldn’t lift SU over Duke like he had over the previous three opponents. After the initial press conference, Battle walked into the locker room and was swarmed by reporters. A few questions were asked before one reporter brought up Battle’s plans for the future. The sophomore’s stock had jumped since the Tournament’s start and he had been featured in mock drafts.Battle shook his head and said he has yet to consider it. But he wouldn’t confirm that he’d return, like his teammate Brissett had. “I don’t even know,” he said. “It’s so early to even decide what I’m gonna do.”At least for now, Battle is still Syracuse’s leader. The one that has carried the team through the highest highs like upsetting Michigan State, and the lowest low like losing to a Matt Farrell-and Bonzie Colson-less Notre Dame team. He’s one of the main reasons Syracuse got this far. And a big factor in why Orange had a chance to upset the Blue Devils. But the magic had run out. Commentslast_img read more

Juventus Aim to Lift 7th Successive League Title at Roma

first_imgOn the Romans’ manager, Eusebio Di Francesco, Allegri added: “He has done very well and it’s not easy to get to the semi-finals of the Champions League. He’s one of the best young coaches around.”Napoli threatened to take the Scudetto battle to the final rounds of the season when they won dramatically in Turin late in April.Allegri said: “The hardest thing in football is to combine winning with playing beautifully. The season is decided by moments and episodes and you have to work both towards results and towards unlocking players’ capabilities.“Juventus had the wisdom to remain calm after the game against Napoli, who have had a brilliant season. Their three years under (Maurizio) Sarri have brought great improvement and they must be commended.”Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain will return to the XI after starting on the bench in the midweek Coppa Italia victory over AC Milan.“Higuain will play tomorrow, along with (Paulo) Dybala,” Allegri confirmed. “(Higuain) didn’t start in the cup final because the match might have lasted 120 minutes. He has been decisive in key matches this season.”Roma are without Kostas Manolas, Gregoire Defrel, Bruno Peres and Rick Karsdorp due to injury. Despite being confined to the sidelines with muscle fatigue, Greek defender Manolas had his say on tonight’s clash.He told La Gazzetta dello Sport: “Juventus are more used to winning and have a stronger mentality than us. Our matches against smaller sides have not been as good, and they are decisive for the Scudetto.”Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri will reward his players with an extended summer holiday if they can secure the point they need to win the Serie A title at Roma today. The Bianconeri are six points clear of Napoli with two games remaining and have already all-but clinched a seventh straight Scudetto thanks to their superior goal difference over the Azzurri.Avoiding defeat at the Stadio Olimpico would “end all conversations” about the title, no matter what Napoli do in their simultaneous match at Sampdoria. Allegri is suitably wary of Roma, though, given the Giallorossi are third in the table and managed to reach the last four of the Champions League, knocking out the likes of Barcelona on the way.He said at his pre-match press conference: “Tomorrow will be a beautiful match and we are hoping to end all conversations about the Scudetto. I’ve told the boys that if they want an extra week of holiday then they’ll have to get a result.”last_img read more