Syracuse beats Maryland 72-70 to remain unbeaten
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Tyus Battle scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half, Oshae Brissett and Frank Howard each scored 15 and Syracuse held off Maryland 72-70 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Monday night.
It was the first true road game of the season for Maryland (6-2), which was playing its third game in four nights and was coming off a two-point loss to St. Bonaventure on Friday night in the semifinals of the Emerald Coast Classic. Syracuse (6-0) has won its last four against the Terps.
Battle, the Orange's leading scorer, suffered a bruise to his lower back in a win over Toledo on Wednesday night, but he was in the lineup at tipoff and played 37 minutes.
The Terps squandered an eight-point second-half lead in the loss to St. Bonaventure, but this game was tight throughout. Syracuse had the biggest lead in the second half, 56-52 with 8:59 to play, and it came down to the final seconds.
Kevin Huerter had 23 points to lead Maryland, going 7 of 9 from long range. Bruno Fernando had 13 points, while Anthony Cowan had 11.
Brissett's second 3-point play of the game gave the Orange a 63-61 lead with 4:33 left, and when Fernando made only 1 of 2 free throws the Orange maintained their slim lead.
Battle then hit a runner in the lane before Huerter drained his sixth 3, hitting again from the top of the key to give Maryland a 66-65 lead with 1:43 left.
Battle responded by draining a 3 from the left corner, the Orange's first and only make of the half, to give Syracuse the lead back with 59 seconds left.
Maryland then fell prey to its glaring weakness, committing two turnovers in the final seconds, and the Orange barely escaped after Huerter sank his seventh 3 with 7.2 seconds left.
The Terps kept the game tight throughout with efficient long-range shooting, netting 10 of 22. When Huerter drained his fourth 3 with 12:32 left to give Maryland a 52-50 lead, the Terps were 8 of 17 from long range while Syracuse had hit just 2 of 14.
Maryland had outrebounded every team it had played and entered the game with a plus-14.7 rebounding margin to rank third nationally. The Orange outrebounded the Terps 21-15 in the first half, 12-6 on the offensive glass and finished with a 39-33 edge, 19-13 offensively.
Both teams took turns leading in a tight but sloppy first half, which featured 19 combined turnovers. The Orange had the biggest spurt, using an 8-0 run late in the period, a tip-in by Brissett giving Syracuse the period's largest lead 32-25 with 5:12 left.
Huerter hit a pair of 3s to give the Terps the lead before Howard lofted a pretty lob over a defender to Paschal Chukwu for an easy lay-in and Marek Dolezaj hit a layup at the shot-clock buzzer in the final minute to give Syracuse a 36-35 halftime lead.
Maryland: The Terps have to take care of the ball better. One of their weaknesses has been turnovers — they entered the game with a minus-5.6 turnover margin — and they had 11 in the first half and 18 for the game.
Syracuse: The Orange entered the game shooting 36.6 percent from behind the arc and had trouble finding their range. They went 2 of 13 in the first half and finished 3 of 18. Last year's team relied on the 3-pointer, but this team is bigger and more suited to inside play.
Maryland hosts Big Ten rival Purdue on Friday night.
Syracuse, which hits the road for the first time, plays No. 2 Kansas in the Hoophall Miami Invitational on Saturday.