Battle injures back in Syracuse’s win
With star guard Tyus Battle hobbled by a second-half injury, point guard Frank Howard took control with a career-high 25 points Wednesday night to lead the Syracuse Orange to a 72-64 win over the Toledo Rockets in a Hoophall Miami Invitational game before 16,237 fans at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y.
Howard scored 15 of his points in the second half, forward Oshae Brissett notched 17 points and 14 rebounds, and forward Matthew Moyer finished with 11 points and seven rebounds for Syracuse (5-0).
Guard Tre’Shaun Fletcher paced the Rockets (3-1) with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Nate Navigato added 13 points and Luke Knapke and Jaelan Sanford chipped in with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Battle, who was averaging a team-high 23.0 points per game, landed awkwardly on his back while contesting a shot early in the second half. He limped through a few minutes before leaving with 13:12 left in the game. He did not return and finished with eight points.
The Hoophall Miami Invitational is a six-team, round-robin tournament that also includes Iona, Texas Southern, Oakland and No. 3 Kansas. Syracuse and Kansas will meet in the championship game Dec. 2 in Miami.
Navigato’s 3-pointer to open the second half — the Rockets’ fifth consecutive 3 — gave Toledo its first lead of the game, 35-33. Sparked by Moyer’s 3-point play, rebound basket and steal that led to a layup, the Orange went on an 11-0 run to grab a 44-35 lead.
Toledo pulled within 44-41, but Brissett’s 3-pointer keyed a 13-2 Orange spurt that boosted Syracuse’s advantage to 57-43 with eight minutes remaining. Howard’s no-look alley-oop pass for a Moyer dunk gave Syracuse a 66-54 cushion with 1:38 left to play.
Syracuse, which never trailed in the first half, built a 28-20 lead on Brissett’s 3-pointer and drive to the basket. However, Toledo shot 4-for-4 from 3-point range in the final three minutes of the half — two each by Sanford and Fletcher — to slice the Orange lead to 33-32 at the break.