Syracuse 12-6 (1-4) dropped a 2OT thriller to Florida State 13-4 (2-3) on Saturday. The three hour marathon was highlighted by a career high 37 points from Tyus Battle (pictured below) and walk on Braedon Bayer seeing important action in the final overtime period as the Orange were down to 6 scholarship players due to foul trouble. The play of Seminoles center Christ Koumadje and the three point shooting of guards Braian Angola and junior PJ Savoy were too much for the a worn down Orange team to handle.Embed from Getty Images
It was a low scoring first half especially at the start of the game. FSU started 0-8 from the field and the teams only had 17 combined points 10:20 into the game.
Florida State dominated the offensive boards early and often and finished the half with 11 offensive rebounds and 25 rebounds total. The Seminoles had 3 offensive rebounds on the first possession of the game and it set the tone for the majority of the first half. Florida State continuously outhustled the Orange and were the first ones diving for loose balls.
Syracuse’s dispassionate play led to 9 turnovers in the first half. Battle and Oshae Brissett were also forcing passes and drives a little too much early on.
The Orange struggled to get good looks in the first half and finished 12/35 from the field. Battle, Brissett and Frank Howard combined to shoot 5/23 in the first half.
The 31-21 halftime score was tied for the second lowest half scoring output for the Orange all season. The Orange have only scored less points in a half during the 2nd half of the St. Bonaventure game.
Howard Washington’s play was the highlight for Syracuse in the first half. He made both of his jumpers and scored 5 points.
Washington commented on his shooting performance after the game, “I’ve been shooting it well lately in practice. Shooting a lot of shots after practice. I feel like there’s not much of a difference. Today I got the open opportunities and knocked the shots down.”
With Washington on the floor, the Orange experimented with their best shooting lineup of the year with Battle, Washington, Howard and Brissett all on the floor at the same time. It helped spread the floor and create some open looks but the team still struggled to chip away at the Seminoles lead. Don’t be surprised if you see more of this intriguing lineup in the future.
Koumadje (pictured below) led Florida State in the first half with 8 points and 2 blocks. He finished the first half with 4 points late to stretch the Florida State lead to 31-21 at the break.Embed from Getty Images
Syracuse started the second half hot with an 8-0 run and following it up shortly after with a 9-0 run to erase the 10 point halftime deficit and take a 45-38 lead. Battle made 3 three pointers in the first 7 minutes of the half to shift the momentum in the Orange’s favor.
The teams traded buckets and Syracuse held a small lead until Savoy hit 2 three pointers in a 1:10 span to take the lead back at 57-55 lead.
Koumadje was huge for the Seminoles down the stretch as he made a number of free throws and dunks in the final few minutes.
Howard fouled out for the Orange with 3:47 left and the team down 65-61. It thrust Washington back into action and Syracuse clawed back in the final minute. The Orange press forced a Florida State turnover and Washington was fouled and made 2 free throws to cut the lead to 1 with 54.9 seconds left.
Senior forward Phil Cofer hit a huge 3 for the Seminoles to extend the lead to 73-69 with 26.5 remaining. Brissett was fouled on a drive and made two free throws to make it 73-71. CJ Walker missed 1 of 2 free throws to leave the door open and Battle made an insane contested 3 to tie the game at 74 with 6 seconds. Florida State’s Mfiondu Kabengele missed a good look as time expired and the game headed to overtime.
The first overtime was back and forth and Syracuse was lucky to overcome a short stretch of mental lapses mid-way through the overtime period. Battle was called for backcourt 10 seconds and immediately following the play Washington was called for a flagrant 1 on Koumadje giving Florida State a free throw and the ball. Matthew Moyer also fouled out with 1:53 left and it forced Marek Dolezaj into action. Brissett had a decent look at a 3 pointer in the corner with a few seconds left but he missed and the game went into the second overtime.
The Orange were dominated by Florida State in the second overtime period as Paschal Chukwu fouled out and the Seminoles outscored Syracuse 19-8 behind 5 points from Angola and 4 points from Kabengele. In a head scratching move, Jim Boeheim put walk on Braedon Bayer in the game for a few seconds with 3:16 remaining and the Orange down 4. Bayer committed a quick foul and Washington, who wasn’t in fouled trouble, was substituted back in for him. Dolezaj looked especially out of place as he missed two good looks from point blank range. A hard fought effort by Syracuse ended in a 101-90 runaway win for Florida State.
Syracuse faces Pittsburgh at the Carrier Dome on Tuesday at 9:00pm. This is a must win game for Syracuse. Pittsburgh is 0-5 in ACC play and a loss would drop the Orange to 1-5 in league games.
Boeheim addressed the 1-4 ACC start for the Orange during his press conference, “It’s 5 games. Who cares. You’ve got 13 games to go. Anything can happen. Who cares. It doesn’t matter. You play the next game.”