Battle helps Syracuse hold off Iona
Syracuse guard Tyus Battle scored 23 of his game-high and career-high 28 points in the second half to carry the Orange to a 71-62 victory over Iona on Tuesday night in a non-conference game before 19,601 fans at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y.
Iona, the defending Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champion, cut Syracuse’s lead to 56-54 with less than six minutes remaining. But as Battle did throughout the half, he answered with back-to-back jumpers to boost the Orange advantage to 60-54 with just under four minutes to play.
Battle’s dunk on a fast break in the closing minute gave the Orange a 69-60 cushion.
Battle, who scored 23 of the Orange’s 37 second-half points, made 11 of 19 shots from the field and added five rebounds and three assists.
Guard Frank Howard scored 15 points and forward Oshae Brissett added 12 for Syracuse (2-0).
Guard Rickey McGill paced Iona (0-2) with 21 points, guard Deyshonee Much added 13, and forward TK Edogi had 10 points and nine rebounds before fouling out with 3:54 left.
Battle scored 10 of Syracuse’s first 12 points in the second half. McGill’s two 3-pointers at the start of the second half and Much’s trey kept the Gaels close.
Syracuse built its lead to eight at 51-43, but Much drilled a long 3-pointer from the wing and Roland Griffin drove to the basket as the Gaels pulled within three at 51-48. But Battle sank a 3-pointer from the wing to boost Syracuse’s advantage to 54-48 with 7 1/2 minutes remaining.
McGill sank two 3-pointers and two free throws in a 10-1 Iona run that gave the Gaels a 15-13 lead midway through the first half. The Orange responded with an 11-2 spurt that was ignited by Brissett’s 3-pointer and included Howard’s five points.
Trailing 29-22 after Brissett’s second 3-pointer of the half, Iona sliced Syracuse’s lead to one on McGill’s 3-pointer and Zach Lewis’ three-point play. The Orange scored the final three points of the half to grab a 32-28 lead at the break.