Tyus Battle was practically perfect, scoring 21 points to help host Syracuse close out its non-conference schedule in impressive fashion, hammering in-state foe St. Bonaventure 81-48 on Saturday to avenge a shocking loss to the Bonnies last season.
The Orange (9-4) got off to fast start, opening a 17-2 bulge in the game’s early minutes, and never looked back. Syracuse’s zone defense smothered the Bonnies’ offensive attack, forcing 25 turnovers and scoring 32 points off those miscues. The Orange also had 17 fast-break points, their second-highest total of the season.
Once again, Battle was the driving force for Syracuse. The junior guard was extremely efficient, going 8 for 8 from the floor and 5 for 6 from the line for his 11th double-figure scoring performance of the season. Elijah Hughes tallied 16 points, while Marek Dolezaj had nine points and five rebounds as the Orange set a season-high for margin of victory.
The banged-up Bonnies weren’t able to mount much of a fight outside of a small run in the first half in which they cut the deficit to 10. Kyle Lofton scored 12 points while Jalen Poyser also chipped in 12 for St. Bonaventure (4-9), who shocked Syracuse 60-57 in overtime last December for only its fourth victory in the series.
Any chances of another upset were quickly spoiled as the Bonnies could not find their shooting touch, especially from 3-point range, where they were just 3 of 19. St. Bonaventure shot 35.6 percent from the floor overall. The Bonnies begin Atlantic-10 play next Sunday at George Mason.
Syracuse, which dropped a nonconference contest to Buffalo earlier this month, avoided losing to a pair of New York schools in the same season for the first time in team history. The Orange open ACC play next Saturday against Notre Dame.
—Field Level Media