|Posted on November 6, 2017 at 9:20 PM|
Article by Dan Tortora
The Syracuse Orange began their first exhibition game of the 2017-18 season against Southern New Hampshire sluggish, sloppy, and giving their opponent hope.
Syracuse began their second exhibition, this versus the Southern Connecticut State Owls, well, the same way.
The Orange never led in the entire 20 minutes of the first half against the Owls, from down 3-0 to behind 29-24 at the break. At one point in the first half, Syracuse trailed Southern Connecticut State by 15, 27-12.
Syracuse shot 8-for-31 from the field in the opening half (25.8%), including 2-for-13 (15.4%) from beyond the arc, making the Orange a combined 3-for-23 from long range in two first halves over their two exhibition games this season.
They were also out-rebounded 25 to 22 and committed 12 turnovers in the first 20 minutes of play.
However, a different team came out in the second half.
Syracuse made the first three-pointer they attempted in the second half when true freshman forward Oshae Brissett connected on the team's first possession of the half.
Orange junior point guard Frank Howard would follow with one of his own, off of an offensive rebound by junior center Paschal Chukwu.
Brissett and Howard would score one after the other once again, shortly after, this time on layups. Howard's layup came off of his own steal, to place Syracuse ahead 34-32 with 18:09 to play in the game. That lead was Syracuse's first of the game, breaking a span of 21 minutes and 51 seconds without the advantage on the scoreboard.
With 15:07 left to play in the second half, Brissett had already equaled his point total from the first half (7 points).
Once the Orange took their first lead of the contest at 34-32, they never rescinded it to the Owls.
A team that was trailing by as many as 15 in the first half won the game by 25.
Eight of Syracuse's nine scholarship players scored in the second half, with two scoring in double-digits in the second half alone, Howard with 14 and Battle with 10.
Coming out of the halftime break, Brissett accumulated nine points, Sidibe and redshirt-freshman forward Matthew Moyer both had eight, graduate transfer had six in his Syracuse debut, and true freshmen point guard Howard Washington, Jr., and forward Marek Dolezaj each had two.
Brissett out-performed him offensively in the second half (9 points to 7) and Battle equaled his first-half total with 10 points in each half.
Moyer, Sidibe, and Thorpe scored all of their points for the game in the second half.
As a team, the Orange combined to score 24 points in the first half and 60 in the second half.
They improved their overall shooting from 25.8% in the first half to 57.1% in the second half (20-for-35), including approximately 42% from three-point range (5-for-12) in the final 20 minutes after going 15.4% in the previous 20 minutes of play.
To call this a tale of two halves would be accurate.
The question now is how much did Syracuse's team learn from these two games, including the fact that they cannot afford to give a half to any team once the games start to count in the win-loss column.