Having nearly doubled his scoring average from a season ago, Tyus Battle aims to lead Syracuse past visiting Oakland on Monday. Battle averaged 11.3 points as a freshman and has upped that mark to 22.3 points through three games of the current campaign.
Syracuse lost six of its top seven scorers from last season with the lone returning star being Battle, who is now the focal point of the Orange offense. His shooting percentage is up from 43.3 percent to 53.5 percent, and his 3-point percentage is approaching 39 percent with multiple 3-pointers made in all three games. “I was just trying to be aggressive, stay aggressive and attack,” Battle said after Saturday’s 80-67 victory against Texas Southern. “Luckily the basketball went in. That’s usually my mindset — attack.” Battle’s assault on opposing defenses will likely continue against an Oakland squad that allowed 87 points in a loss to Toledo on Saturday.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ACC Network Extra
ABOUT OAKLAND (2-1): The Grizzlies are a two-man show with Kendrick Nunn and Martez Walker averaging a combined 52.3 points, not to mention 11.6 rebounds and 6.3 assists. Both senior guards are terrific foul shooters and 3-point shooters, while James Beck is the interior threat for Oakland with averages of 9.3 points and 7.3 rebounds. Nunn, a transfer from Illinois, is scoring 28 points per contest after averaging 15.5 points as a junior with the Fighting Illini, and his shooting percentage (46.3) is up from his most recent season (42.8).
ABOUT SYRACUSE (3-0): The Orange’s top two freshmen are not off to a good start this season. Oshae Brissett is averaging 10 points and 7.7 rebounds but is just 9-of-34 from the field, while redshirt freshman Matthew Moyer has not scored in 33 minutes over the last two games. Marek Dolezaj, another freshman, is off to a pleasant start with averages of 8.3 points, seven rebounds, three assists and one block.
1. This game is part of the Hoophall Miami Invitational.
2. Syracuse is outrebounding its opponents by 14.3 rebounds per game.
3. Oakland G Brailen Neely has 17 turnovers and only four assists this season.
PREDICTION: Oakland 86, Syracuse 77