The Syracuse fans travelled well for this game and orange jerseys speckled Conte Forum at tipoff, but they were silenced early in the opening half with a strong defensive start from the Eagles. The defense held ‘Cuse to 3 points while forcing as many turnovers in the first five minutes of play, building a quick 7-point lead. The BC offense was really clicking with great ball movement, and the Orange struggled to defend inside without fouling. Ky Bowman hit five-of-six three-point attempts in the half, while Jordan Chatman and Jerome Robinson each added a pair. Tyus Battle was also on fire behind the arc, racking up 20 first half points on four-of-six three-point shooting for Syracuse.
The Eagles stretched their lead to as much as 13 before the offense began to sputter with Robinson on the bench. A BC lineup featuring three freshmen had difficulty scoring as Syracuse turned up the defensive pressure; the red-hot shooting from earlier in the half cooled dramatically in the final seven minutes. As Syracuse asserted themselves on the glass, they began to get to the line as well, and took advantage by hitting ten-of-ten free throw attempts in the first half. With Robinson back in the lineup, the Eagles were able to stop the bleeding and head into the break with a 40-37 lead.
The Eagles started the second half as hot as they did the first, building the lead back up to 9 in the opening five minutes. The defense was impressive, pressuring the Orange into multiple shot clock violations and jump ball turnovers. Jerome Robinson came alive, putting up 12 second half points. During one sequence he knocked down a step back three, picked off a pass at half court, and slammed home a dunk in transition for a five-point swing. Tyus Battle continued to dominate the Orange offense, finishing the night leading all scorers with 29 points.
Jim Boeheim tried to replicate the full court pressure that was the Eagles’ undoing in Miami last week, but the Eagles were much more successful breaking the press tonight and pushed the lead to 16 riding a barrage of fast break points. A collective déjà vu set in across Chestnut Hill as BC attempted to hold off a Syracuse run in the final four minutes, but history would not repeat itself. The Eagles (mostly) broke the press, made foul shots, and built a lead that was insurmountable for the Orange in the closing minutes. A Luka Kraljevic buzzer-beating three would end the game in an 85-70 victory for the Eagles.
This win closes out the home schedule for the Eagles with an impressive 14-3 record in Conte Forum, and advances their case for an NIT bid. Better still, the Eagles may have closed the book on Syracuse’s NCAA bubble aspirations with this drubbing. Steffon Mitchell left the game with a reported hamstring contusion in the second half and did not return. BC will travel to Florida State for their final regular season game on Saturday at 2 PM.