Defense, Tyus Battle leading way for Syracuse


The dancing continues for Syracuse.

The Orange are headed to the Sweet 16 thanks to a gritty 55-53 upset victory over Michigan St. on Sunday afternoon.

“These guys just keep battling,” head coach Jim Boeheim said.  “Frank Howard fouled out and they weren’t fazed.  They just kept going.”

The win has propelled Syracuse to Omaha, and it’s no secret what’s been the driving force behind their remarkable run.

“Our defense has obviously been the key for us,” Boeheim said.  “We wanted to get to (Michigan State’s) shooters and we did a great job of that.”

Syracuse needed the defense to perform the way it did, especially when you consider they were outrebounded 51-30, made just one 3-pointer and had a grand total of three assists for the entire game.  But when the Orange needed a basket, Tyus Battle was there to deliver in crunch time.

“I was missing a lot of jump shots throughout the entire game,” Battle said.  “You can’t lose confidence in situations like that.  People miss shots, but if you stop shooting the ball that proves you lost confidence.”

The Orange never lost any of that in Battle.

“That’s what he’s been doing all year,” Oshae Brissett said.  “We want the ball in his hands in those situations.  Everyone on the team trusts him.”

That trust was rewarded at least for the time being, but Syracuse is still out to show they belong.

“We’ve just been fighting the entire year,” Battle said.  “We’re constantly trying to prove ourselves in this tournament.  I think we’ve been doing a pretty good job of that so far.”

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