SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Syracuse’s 2-3 zone has claimed another victim.
Northeastern entered its Tuesday night matchup against the Orange shooting 41 percent from behind the 3-point arc and 48 percent overall. The Huskies left the Carrier Dome hitting just 21 percent from distance and 34 percent overall.
Oshae Brissett had 21 points and 14 rebounds, and Elijah Hughes added 17 points to pace Syracuse to a 72-49 win over Northeastern.
“I don’t think you can simulate that,” Northeastern coach Bill Coen said of preparing for Syracuse’s size and quickness. “They’re very, very quick in the zone and they cover up what appears to be an open shot with their quickness and length. Any good shots that we had that looked clean were a little bit rushed and we never really got rhythm 3s. That’s what they do and they’re really good at it. Shots that normally go down for us didn’t but you have to credit them because they rush you into those.”
The Orange (6-2), winners of four straight, dominated inside, outrebounding the Huskies (4-5) 43-29, including 15-7 on the offensive glass. Syracuse scored 32 in the paint and collected 19 second-chance points.
“I really thought the difference in the game was Syracuse’s ability to rebound the ball on the offensive end,” Coen said. “I thought we couldn’t really get stops because we couldn’t get rebounds. Those rebounds turned into quick 3s and kick-out 3s and quick points and the game quickly got away from us.”
Syracuse held the Huskies to 17-of-50 shooting and just 6-of-28 from 3. Northeastern made 9 of 28 field goals in the second half and hit just 2-of-16 3s.
Frank Howard had four steals and six assists for the Orange, who had a season-high 20 assists on 26 baskets.
Tomas Murphy led the Huskies with 17 points and eight rebounds. Donnell Gresham chipped in with 10 points.
While Coen praised Syracuse’s zone, Orange coach Jim Boeheim wasn’t quite as complimentary, although he acknowledged his team’s defense keyed the win.
“I thought the last 12 minutes of the first half we played really good defense. We changed the game with our defense,” Boeheim said.
But he added, “In the second half they just missed shots. Our defense wasn’t good. We need to do better.”
Syracuse jumped off to a 10-2 lead but the Huskies went on a 10-0 run to take a brief 12-10 lead on a 3-pointer by Jordan Roland. The Orange tied the score on a jumper by Brissett and extended to a 21-14 margin on Brissett’s 3. Syracuse then missed nine consecutive shots, failing to score for more than seven minutes, and Northeastern closed to 21-19. A put-back by Marek Dolezaj broke the scoreless skein, and Syracuse proceeded to go on a 9-0 run to take a 35-23 lead at the half.
Coen said his team’s failure to fully capitalize on Syracuse’s drought squashed any chance of a major upset.
“If you’re going to have any chance at an upset you’ve got to make shots and we didn’t do that,” Coen said. “During that stretch our defense gave us a chance to make it a game but unfortunately you have to put both sides of the basketball together. If we had made a couple of shots, we would’ve got a little bit of confidence going. We had some opportunities, but we just didn’t move the needle.”
Northeastern: The Huskies, playing without three starters, were simply outmanned by a bigger Orange squad.
Syracuse: Except for a dry spell in the first half, the Orange played one of its best games of the young season. Syracuse shared the ball well, collecting 20 assists.
MISSING IN ACTION:
Northeastern played without three starters — point guard Vasa Pusica, guard Shawn Occeus and guard/forward Maxime Boursiquot.
LOSING THE BATTLE:
Tyus Battle, Syracuse’s leading scorer at 19.1 points per game, had a career-low two points. He was 0-of-4 from 3 and 1-of-7 overall.
Jim Boeheim’s son, Buddy, had a career-high 11 points.
Northeastern hosts Oakland University Saturday.
Syracuse renews its rivalry with former Big East rival Georgetown Saturday at home.
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